Postgame extra: Best game?

Rare is the time you hear things like “playoff atmosphere” in June but Dusty Baker went there after a hard-fought 9-8 Reds win over the Cardinals.

“That was probably the best game of the year, especially since we came out on top,” Baker said. “Boy, that was as close to a playoff atmosphere as our young team has probably have been in. it’s just a sample of what exciting baseball is all about.”

The question of the night —

Do you agree with Baker? Was that the best game for the Reds this year?

The good —

*Joey Votto. The dude is out for six games with a stiff neck and returns by going 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple and two singles.

“I’m just trying to keep up with Miguel Cairo,” Votto joked.

*Scott Rolen’s two-homer night gives him 13 for the season. He had 11 in both 2008 and 2009.

*In the first inning on Albert Pujols’ single to left field, Jonny Gomes nailed Felipe Lopez at the plate with a great throw as Lopez tried scoring from second base.

*Drew Stubbs saved some runs from scoring when he sprinted a long way to catch Lopez’s drive to the center field wall.

*Arthur Rhodes got into quite a fix in the seventh with a leadoff walk and a single and bases loaded with two outs. But he got out of it and extended his streak to 21-straight scoreless appearances (19 2/3 innings)

The not so good —

*It wasn’t a smooth night for Johnny Cueto, who gave up eight earned runs and a career-high tying 10 hits over five-plus innings with one walk and no strikeouts. He let all four batters he faced in the sixth reach base. They all scored.

Cueto is probably entitled to an off night…he was 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his previous six starts. His unbeaten streak remained after the lineup picked him up in the seventh.

“He was out of his rhythm and didn’t have his good location,” Baker said.


“There was definitely more intensity. Maybe that’s just me coming back after not playing for six games. It definitely felt a little different. Both managers were making decisions obviously, to get the wins. But it felt like we were trying to beat each other. We weren’t trying to save it for later on.” — Joey Votto

“Tomorrow, we’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s important. It’s a series. It’s not the battle of first place in June. We’ve got a chance to win a series. That’s why we’re here in the position we’re in playing good baseball and tied for first place. It’s because we played well and won series. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you win series and play good baseball, you’ll find yourself in good position.” — Scott Rolen

And check out this take about Rolen from Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. Rolen, of course, once played for St. Louis.

“He’s healthy and we have seen that. He’s an outstanding player when he’s healthy. He’s playing outstanding for them. Probably their manager’s getting more out of him than I did. I know people are going to speculate that and it’s probably true. I’m sure it’s true. When he’s healthy — and he’s healthy – he’s an outstanding player.”

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Best game? I’m not sure. It was an exciting game — big plays, taking back the lead, fighting to keep it. Can it ever be the “best game” when the starter gives up eight unearned runs in 5+ innings?

Best game? Maybe, it was good, but it was also very frustrating which makes it hard for me to love it more than others. Especially with the sixth inning for the cards where they got two hits off of infielders gloves and another blooper, that stuff ticks me off. But my two favorite memories of the season so far have been Stubbs granny against the Cubs on the opening Saturday and Votto’s three run dinger against the Cubs to take back the lead after Colvin hit one out off of Leake. Those got me pumped. Go Reds, keep rolling.

I see exactly what Dusty is saying. He’s not saying they played the best baseball we’ve seen, but, as far as a baseball game goes, it was exciting and a hard fought game on both sides…and it shows A LOT of what this team is made of and capable of…and yeah, one of the best of the year so far. Not my favorite, but it was a heckuva game. This is a game that people watching that aren’t particularly fans of either team involved would have watched and said “wow, that was a great game!”
We’ve seen games where the Reds have been out in front early and contained, of course the sad games that we’ve been out in front early and flubbed, the pitching duels that have gone both for and against us in the end, and, of course, we’ve seen the last at bat grand heroics…but this is the first high octane game from both sides that the lead was traded back and forth so much. They fought for it. It was a big crowd, not sellout, but bigger than the majority of crowds this team has seen this year… and the atmosphere was rocking (you could even tell from tv and radio, especially after the Cards chased Cueto). It meant a chance to still win the series…a chance to regain the division lead (yes it’s June, but it’s still first place)…it meant not having 3 losses in a row and showing fans they are going to fight that June Swoon with all their might…and it meant showing the baseball world the Reds aren’t a one-trick pony and just what type of heart and talent this special team has. It was an exciting game for both team’s fans from 1st strike out to the last spectacular diving catch.
It WAS a great game…one of the many great, close, classic games I’ve loved between these two teams. Yes, I agree with Dusty…”especially since we came out on top.”

Why does any team run against the Reds’ outfield arms? One assist after another! There’s not a weak arm out there.
Are they the best in the league? Another question: is this LeCure’s last start before he goes to the bullpen as a long reliever (with Homer coming back and Lincoln going somewhere else)?

That game reminded me of the Twins Tigers 163 Game last year. It was epic, both teams fought until the end. Let’s face it guys, The Reds are not going away. They are different this year, and are able to win in more ways than one (i.e. Home Runs). They have defense, speed, power, and most importantly veterans, and a thirst that is only satisfied by taking the Central away from the Cards.

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