All around solid victory for Reds
That was about as complete a win as the Reds could ask for during Saturday’s 6-0 blanking over the Astros on Saturday.
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On to the Three Stars…
No. 3 star: Zack Cozart — This is for his defense. Cozart made a spectacular diving stop on a sharp grounder in the sixth to rob J.D. Martinez and then made an equally superb throw to first base for the out. In the eighth with Brian Bixler batting, Cozart made the long run and catch into the seats on a foul pop to the left side.
“Unbelievable,” Martinez said of the first play. “What are you gonna do? I thought I had a hit. I saw him layout and said ‘no way’. If that doesn’t get No. 1 on Sportscenter I don’t know what will”.
“I was so shocked that I caught it,” Cozart said of the diving stop. “I kind of caught it behind me. It worked out well to where it flipped me around to where I could get a throw off.”
No. 2 star: Johnny Cueto — 7 ip, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HB, 120 pitches/78 strikes. He wasn’t dominant, especially in the first two innings when he survived a bases loaded jam with two outs in the first and a leadoff double in the second. But Cueto settled in and gave the Reds seven scoreless.
“He was throwing a lot of near strikes early,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “The first two innings, we were getting a little concerned. He was at almost 50 pitches the first two innings. We were like ‘oh no, hopefully he can go six if he has a couple of short innings.’”
And the No. 1 star: Jay Bruce — 2-for-3, 4 RBIs. Bruce went the other way in the third for a two-run double that barely landed inside fair territory in the left field corner. In the fifth, he launched a first pitch for a two-run homer. That’s three homers in three games for Bruce.
“Where he is in that fifth spot is very, very important, that RBI slot,” Baker said. “One thing we know for sure is he can get a lot of them in a short period of time.”
News and notes:
*Aroldis Chapman had his first shaky appearance of the season in the ninth with a single and two walks allowed that loaded the bases. But Chapman struck out last batter Chris Snyder and extended his scoreless innings streak to 12 1/3 to start the season.
*Scott Rolen made a sweet play to take a hit from Snyder in the seventh and threw him out from his knees to end the inning.
*Cueto leads the NL with six sacrifice bunts after he executed another one today.
*Ryan Hanigan extended his season-high hitting streak to seven games. The club is 9-3 when he starts and the staff has a 2.43 ERA when he’s behind the plate.
“He’s going to give you everything he’s got every time he goes out there. it feels good to go out to the game and watching this guy, you feel like you’re going to win. You feel like if you give him the ball, he’ll keep you in the game the entire time.” — Jay Bruce on Johnny Cueto
“That’s what good teams do. They play all nuances of the game well and they execute. Johnny pitched great. The defense was awesome and we hit when we needed to. That’s perfect.” — Dusty Baker