Bruce and Votto big in win

The Reds have won seven of their last 10 games with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the Astros. They also took two of three in the series. Lots to like with this team lately.

Click here for the full game story on MLB.com

Click here for Dusty Baker’s postgame comments on video.

And to conclude April, the Reds are back to .500 at 11-11 before the Cubs come to town Tuesday after Monday’s off day.

As the NHL playoffs chug into the second round, the Three Stars of Sunday’s game.

No. 3 star: Jordan Lyles, HOU — 6 ip, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. Lyles, freshly called up from Triple-A, held the Reds hitless for the first three innings.

No. 2 star: Joey Votto — 2-for-3, 1 HR, 4 RBIs. Votto ended a homer drought that lasted 68 at-bats over 19 games. The team was trailing 2-0 when he slugged a two-run homer off of Lyles. It was 5-3 Houston lead in the seventh when Votto managed to pull a tough pitch for a two-run double to right field that tied the game.

“He actually threw a good pitch and I should have made an out,” Votto said. “I found a spot. It wasn’t a very good swing and I picked the wrong pitch. I got lucky in a way.”

The No. 1 star is Jay Bruce, who was 1-for-3 with the game-winning home run in the eighth. Bruce led off the inning vs. Fernando Rodriguez and hit the first pitch over the right field fence. He has a career-best four-straight games with a homer and is 16-for-38 (.421) over his last 10 games.

“It’s a long season and we’re a month down, but I am continuing to work,” Bruce said. “I will try not to focus on the numbers as much as the preparation and work that I do on a daily basis to be able to go out and perform and help my team.”

News and notes:

*This was a day when the Reds had to pick up a lackluster Mat Latos: 6.1 ip, 10 H (career high tying), 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 HR.

“I got sick right before the game and I was grinding through it as much as possible,” Latos said.

*Over his 13 career starts in the month of April, Latos is 2-8 with a 5.73 ERA and 14 homers allowed. He has allowed 5+ runs in 5 of those 13 starts since 2010. He’s done it just twice in his other 53 starts (Thanks Joel Luckhaupt for that second tidbit).

*Logan Ondrusek nabbed the victory with another stellar inning in the eighth. The Reds bullpen has a 2.82 ERA for the season.

Quotes:

“The way we started was really ugly. I think it was a shock to everybody in the clubhouse. It was kind of humbling. It was a good thing. I’m a firm believer that you don’t want to start off slow but there is nothing wrong with starting off slow. It keeps you in check and makes you work a little harder and concentrate on the fundamentals of the game. Those are what will carry you throughout the middle of summer and the end of the year.” Joey Votto on the .500 month.

“That was the only thing eluding him in his young career right now. When he gets a good pass on a ball, there’s nobody more dangerous than him around.” — Dusty Baker on Jay Bruce

“It’s always good when you can come through for your team like that. Obviously I wasn’t the only part of that comeback.” — Jay Bruce.

6 Comments

Mark, I have a question: there was a time, I thought, when managers didn’t use the extra cathcer for pinchhitting or defense for fear of injury and having to use an ‘emergency’ catcher. I thought of this again yesterday when Mesoraco went in as a pinchrunner (!), but Dusty used to routinely use Hernadez as a pinchhitter, and I suppose Hannigan too. Is this a new style in baseball? And who is the Reds emergency catcher? (I’m guessing Valdez). Nice homestand so far. Bring on the Cubbies!

Something else – Mark, you do a good job with Marty on the radio broadcasts.

The thing that irked me in that situation was why Mesoraco and not Harris? If you have to pinch run for Hanigan then Mesoraco is obviously going into the game. Well, it’s not like you trust Harris to come in and pinch hit later, so what good is he to you? Oh, he might be worth a pinch runner. So wouldn’t that be the best situation to use him in? Again, it worked out, it doesn’t matter, just interesting train of thought by Dusty. But look, if Stubbs gets the bunt down and Cozart strikes out, then they walk Votto and we don’t score any runs. So Dusty’s strategy again pays off. Give the guy an extension!!!!
Curt

Curt, I assumed Mes instead of anyone else because if the game gets tied, you’re short a pinch hitter later. But here’s one for everybody: I was thinking about Billy Hamilton and I seem to recall the Oakland A’s in the Charley O era having a pinch runner who that was all he ever did. Couldn’t field, couldn’t hit – I’m not even sure he was a baseball player. All he did was pinch run. Does anyone else remember that and who it was (‘Washington’ sticks in my mind but that’s no sure thing). Meanwhile, Cozart’s play Saturday is why we watch the games. You know I like going to Dayton to watch the Dragons, but when you turn back to the majors you realize these really are the best players in the world!

Thanks maxblue…the difference with Mesoraco as opposed to Hanigan or Hernandez, is he can run a little bit. Is using your backup catcher optimal? Not always. But it does save from using two guys for essentially one substitution. And the Oakland PR you’re thinking of is Herb Washington http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/washihe01.shtml

Mark et al: This is just an observation re the Reds current (always?) pitching situation. You never have enough pitching…..ever hear that? With some of the current staff being less than effective (Leake, Latos come to mind), and no real “prospect” being ready to come to the big club and help out, might not the Reds consider obtaining the services of John Lannen? He was the bellweather of the Nat’s staff (10-14 with an ERA of 3.79 (approx.) last yr. He won an arbitration case vs. the Nats this yr. and is being paid $5 million to pitch this season. Despite a good spring, he was optioned to Syracuse (AAA) where he now languishes. (The Nats currently have one of, if not the deepest staff in the NL and maybe all of baseball.) He is a real battler and pitched many quality games last yr……with little support. He was despondent over his being optioned out (gee, I wonder why?), and has had difficulty focusing this season. He asked to be traded, but the Nats say there are no takers ($5M is a bit too much for most clubs). The Nats are in need of offense……and the Reds may have some trade bait in their farm system at the moment. They might be able to get Washington to absorb some of the $5M and, presto, they would have a very good left handed pitching addition that could be of immeasurable help this yr. There are not many quality pitchers available at this time of the yr., but as a lifelong observer and player of the game (many yrs. ago), John Lannen is one. If the Reds are truly intent on winning this yr., this addition might help. Just a thought.

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