A lost series in Houston, really?
Dropping two of three to the team with the worst record in baseball? In the voice of Wallace Shawn’s character Vizzini in “The Princess Bride” …. inconceivable!
I remember walking to Minute Maid Park Monday seeing a crane remove a huge Hunter Pence banner outside the stadium. The Astros were reeling from losing two stars in deadline trades and having to start young players — some straight from Double-A. Not winning this series seemed like something that wouldn’t happen to the Reds, or even couldn’t.
Happen it did as the 5-4 loss on Wednesday meant the Reds dropped two of three in the series to fall 7 1/2 games out of first place.
“It’s another tough loss,” pitcher Dontrelle Willis said. “We’re going to continue to work hard and continue to battle but this one hurt tonight.”
*It was Willis’ seventh inning homer that gave the Reds a 3-2 lead. It was Willis’ ninth career homer and his first since 8/29/07 vs. ATL while playing for the Marlins.
*Nick Masset was charged with his first blown save since April 13, and it was a doozy. Masset faced five batters and couldn’t notch an out. Starting his seventh inning with a four-pitch walk was a big problem. Two bad plays on bunts compounded it.
*Many wondered why Willis didn’t stick around after the sixth with only 77 pitches. In six innings, he allowed two runs and eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
“He really wasn’t sharp all night,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They were hitting some balls hard off of him. We felt fortunate to get as deep in the game as we did. I don’t know if you noticed, they were hitting some balls hard off of him tonight, which they didn’t do earlier against Dontrelle. That was far enough.”
*Willis is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in five starts for the Reds.
*Joey Votto was 3-for-4. His Minute Maid Park hitting streak is 18 games.
*Astros starter Jordan Lyles, the youngest player in the Majors at 20 years old, earned his first big league win after beginning his career 0-6.
“Honestly, I really felt like I didn’t have good command. Once again, our defense and the talent we have around me picked me up today. Ramon did a good job of calling the right pitches to get me out of those jams. It was a team effort to get me out of those jams and keep us in the ballgame. That’s what they’ve been doing the whole time since I’ve been up.” — Dontrelle Willis
“We had a couple of messed up bunt plays without an out. You just can’t give away that many outs. This game isn’t made for five outs. You have to take the outs when you get them.” — Dusty Baker