Grinding out a road series win

Heading into an off day two-thirds of the way through a 10-day, nine-game road trip, the Reds really had to grind one out. A two-run top of the ninth gave them a 5-4 win over the Pirates and two of three in the series.

Notes:

*The Reds snapped a six road series losing streak. Their last road series win came June 27-29 at Tampa Bay.

*Jose Arredondo came up big with two perfect innings in the seventh and eighth to keep Pittsburgh close.

*Joey Votto delivered a three-run homer in the sixth, which at the time was only his team’s third hit of the game. They had been very quiet against starter James McDonald. Votto worked a nice 3-2 at-bat and fouled off a couple of tough pitches.

*Entering today, the Pirates were 52-0 when leading after 8 innings. Closer Joel Hanrahan had only blown two of 33 save chances and both of those came in the eighth inning when inherited runners scored.

*Ramon “Clutch Man Monie” Hernandez came off the bench with a big RBI single that tied the game in the top of the ninth against Hanrahan. A Brandon Phillips potential double play ball was twarted because it was a slow roller and Miguel Cairo made a nice slide into second base. It allowed pinch-runner Dave Sappelt to score the go-ahead run.

*Todd Frazier played SS for the first time in the big leagues in the bottom of the ninth. It was needed since Hernandez pinch-hit for SS Paul Janish in the top of the ninth.

*The Reds caught a break in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-runner Josh Harrison was caught stealing by Hernandez. Replays showed Harrison was safe however. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected for arguing the call.

*Speaking of ejections, Reds bench coach Chris Speier was tossed in the eighth inning by home plate umpire Bob Davidson for arguing a strike three call on a Jay Bruce check swing. Manager Dusty Baker said Davidson got the wrong guy.

“Bob Davidson thought Chris said something he didn’t say,” Baker said. “I was standing right next to him. He thought he said the magic word. He didn’t say that until after he was thrown out of the game. We didn’t think he swung at that pitch.”

*Reds starter Mike Leake pitched six innings and gave up four runs and five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. There were also two home runs.

*Baker said that Leake should be able to work later into the season than he did as a rookie. Last season, Leake was shut down in August upon reaching 138 1/3 innings. Counting his 7 1/3 innings pitched at Triple-A Louisville, Leake has 146 innings pitched this season.

“I don’t see any fatigue like I saw last year,” Baker said. “Last year, he didn’t know what to expect coming out of college. He’s getting strong. He knows how to train and prepare between starts.”

*The game was slowed by two rain delays, including one for 41 minutes prior to first pitch. There was a 20-minute stoppage during the top of the seventh. It was the Reds’eighth and ninth weather delay of the season, making it five in Pittsburgh. The Reds have had eight hours, 38 minutes worth of rain delays in 2011.

Quotes:

“I was looking to stay back because he’s got a very good slider. He hanged that slide a little bit too high and I got lucky that I hit it where nobody was and put it through the hole. He’s a tough pitcher.” — Ramon Hernandez on his game tying single off Joel Hanrahan.

“It’s always fun to come back. I wish we could do that every game with one-run ballgames. We haven’t had too much luck with one-run games.” — Mike Leake

“This guy is one of the best around. There is that theory about the third day in a row. Sometimes it’s tough on a pitcher but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. A closer sometimes has to go three, four, five days in a row. How we got to him, I really don’t know.” — Dusty Baker on Hanrahan

“Today, I didn’t get any breaks. They score that winning run on a weak groundball. He hits it any harder and we have a double play. You’ve got to have some luck in the game, and we just didn’t get the breaks.” — Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, who worked his third-straight game. He gave up five runs combined between Friday and Sunday.

“We had a pretty good read on the guy and thought that was the pitch to go. At that time, take a chance. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. I saw the ball hit his glove as I was sliding and I hit the bag and I think that’s when he tagged me and called me out. I kind of stood there in disbelief. I was in there.” — Pirates PR Josh Harrison on the ninth inning caught stealing.

“That’s the best he’s been in a while. He didn’t walk the leadoff guy. He was throwing strikes and kept the ball down. They hit some balls good on the nose. They centered them but not enough to hit them out of the ballpark.” — Dusty Baker on Jose Arredondo

5 Comments

Good win yesterday. I guess it doesn’t matter. My black magic number is past. The Reds can’t go 18-9 for August. Curt’s black magic number is 1. The Reds have to go 9-0 the rest of the month to finish 19-10. Of course, something else has happened to make it irrelevant. Every statement about the Reds’ chances began “If the Brewers play.500 ball the rest of the way …” Well, the Brewers refused to cooperate – they’re playing way better than .500 ball (I’m too lazy to do the math).

Ya, I’m still on the “we can do this” bandwagon until one more loss. Then I’m officially done. But I may start up another bandwagon, this time being “hey we’re only five games out of second.”
Curt

Wow, Curt – you got the Bengals going to the playoffs, too? By the way, you got me good with that Joey in LF lineup the other day. I took the hook on that one!

Ha, sorry about that. Was just fooling around. No, don’t have the Bengals in the playoffs, but I’m not a Bengals fan so I don’t care. I think they will win five games though.
Curt

In other news, don’t be surprised if the Reds game gets moved to a day game on Thursday with Hurricane Irene lurking.
Curt

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