Postgame extra, Leake

It got a little hairy at the end but the Reds have a series win with a 6-4 victory over the Astros.

What was good: Mike Leake, of course. He’s 2-0 with a 3.25 ERA in four starts. He has three-straight outings of seven innings and three quality starts. He pitched seven innings, gave up one earned run and five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Through the first four innings, the rookie allowed one single and faced the minimum batters. He left with a 6-1 lead.

Hard to believe Leake was pitching for Arizona State this time last year?

“I don’t think about that,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I think about him trying to get better here. He’s a quick learner, very confident but not cocky with his confidence.”

What happened in the ninth? Coming off Tuesday’s flawless appearance for Nick Masset, Baker wanted to keep him rolling and called on him to finish the game. But Masset walked first batter Carlos Lee and then gave up Reds killer Lance Berkman’s two run homer. Masset has a 12.54 ERA in 11 games. 

“That ball was supposed to be on the outside,” Baker said of Masset’s 2-1 pitch to Berkman. “It had good velocity except it was on the heart of the plate. I’m just glad we had the runs we had. We’ll try not to make it so tight tomorrow.”

Francisco Cordero had to finish but also had trouble. A leadoff single off Joey Votto’s glove, a walk and a lined RBI single made it a two-run game.

Check the rulebook: Many assumed, including myself, that Cordero was awarded the save since the lead was three runs. Not true. Rule 10.19 says that with the three-run lead Cordero needed to work at least one inning. He only pitched two-thirds of an inning.

Game changer: In the four-run fourth with the bases loaded, Brandon Phillips hit what seemed to be a routine fly to right-center field. Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence both lost it in the twilight and the ball skipped out of Pence’s glove. It was ruled E9 although Baker thought it should have been a hit.

“That’s a play that has to be made,” Pence said. “Here when the twilight hours are going on, the balls disappear. You just have to keep going with it and try to find it and I lost it and found it late and wasn’t able to recover as good as I needed to. I’ve got to make that play.

Quotes: “I just had that one inning where I threw too many pitches and tried to do too much. The infield was great today and the outfield as well. Ramon caught a great game tonight and the offense did their job as well. A good all-around game.” — Mike Leake.

“I’m not going to take nothing away from him. He made some good pitches on me tonight and I give credit where credit it due. We’ll see him again, and we’ll be back and ready to face him again.” — Michael Bourn, who was 0-for-5, with four strikeouts. Three Ks came vs. Leake. 

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1 Comment

I really like Phillips hitting second and Bruce fifth (or fourth). Phillips is what he is: a terrific secondbaseman, and good batter and baserunner. People want to punish him for his missteps – forget it. Take him for what he gives you. He’s not paid like a superstar. This team will survive his occasional lapses. It has other problems and other potentials.

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