Stubbs HR wins game, series
The quest for consecutive victories is over as Drew Stubbs delivered in the bottom of the ninth with leadoff, first-pitch, walkoff homer for a 4-3 Reds victory over the Braves.
Don’t look now, but the Reds are three games back from a three-way for first place in the NL Central. St. Louis and Milwaukee both lost today and it was the Pirates that beat the Cardinals.
“We’re right where we need to be,” Stubbs said. “It’s going to be a dogfight to the end of this thing. I don’t think any team is going to run away with it.”
It’s been 31 games since the Reds won back-to-back games…June 13-15 was the last winning upon a sweep of the Dodgers.
*I thought starter Dontrelle Willis pitched very well despite the no-decision. He worked into the seventh inning and had only 79 pitches after six. What killed him was the wild pitch to Julio Lugo that put a runner into scoring position before the game-tying single.
*Willis suffered a split fingernail on his index finger after striking out Martin Prado in the third. The bullpen stirred as he was looked over by the trainer and pitching coach Bryan Price but Willis was able to continue for his second quality start in three games with the Reds. He has a 3.71 ERA.
*Like Stubbs, who went to the opposite field to end the game, Brandon Phillips did likewise to get the Reds on the scoreboard in the first inning. It was Phillips’ 10th homer of the season and the first since his own walkoff shot on July 15 vs. STL.
*Stubbs now has two career walkoff homers….the last coming 8/29/09 vs. SF not long after he was first called up.
*Aroldis Chapman: 9 pitches, 8 strikes and 5 outs. His one-pitch double play on Jason Heyward saved the Reds to end the seventh. Chapman returned with a perfect eighth.
*To end the top of the second, 3B Miguel Cairo made a very nice pick on a hot grounder by Alex Gonzalez, and then turned a 5-4-3 double play. Cairo then came up in the bottom of the second and smashed a 421-foot homer to left field for a 3-0 win.
*Jonny Gomes struck out in the eighth as a pinch-hitter. He is 0-for-15 as a PH this season with 10 strikeouts.
*The Reds ended a seven-game Sunday Night Baseball losing streak, including 0-3 this season. The last Sunday night win was 8/13/00 vs. the Cubs.
“Stubbs is playing on both sides of the ball. It looks like he’s feeling it and getting better. He’s always been a second half player. Perhaps down the stretch here, he can play like we’ve seen.” — Dusty Baker
“I went up there just looking for a good fastball to hit over the plate. He gave it to me and I was able to put a good swing on it. The rest is history.” — Drew Stubbs
“Teddy Power is a guru. Bryan Price, this off-season, I worked a lot with him. I definitely owe a lot to a lot of people that gave me a chance in going out there, having fun and working hard. This is not for me. This is for the guys that still believe in me – not only friends and family but those guys who love the game and to teach the game. I will definitely continue to work my heart out for them.” — Dontrelle Willis
“All I can say is OMG. It feels good to finally get back-to-back wins. The way we did it, we’re used to doing that. I heard it was since June. That’s crazy. I’m just glad we got it over with and now we can just keep on going from there.” — Brandon Phillips