The Reds got Homer Bailey’s birthday gift by stealing a win from the Cubs on Ryan Dempster’s birthday. A 4-3 victory came in 10 innings after Cincinnati scored three in the ninth on Carlos Marmol and one in the 10th on a Scott Rolen sacrifice fly.
No matter how it came — it was a very, very big win for Cincinnati. They were one inning away from losing two games with one run scored on only six hits.
“5-3 at home sounds a lot better than 4-4, especially going on the road,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said of the home stand. “Hopefully we can have a great road trip.”
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The Three Stars of the game…
No. 3 star: Zack Cozart — 1-for-1, run scored. Getting a day off, Cozart did not enter until the 10th but made a nice diving stop to rob Darwin Barney on a leadoff hit. In the bottom of the 10th, Cozart’s leadoff single set up the winning run.
“You’re just sitting there because you’re just sitting there,” Cozart said. “And all of a sudden, we get some people on. Dusty says, ‘get ready to run, get ready to hit and oh, you’re going in at shortstop.’ There’s a lot of different stuff you have to do.”
No. 2 star: The Reds pitching staff — Homer Bailey and relievers Jose Arredondo, Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall and Logan Ondrusek. Bailey gave up only three solo homers through six innings but survived a bases-loaded, one-out threat in the sixth without a another run crossing. The bullpen guys each pitched a scoreless inning, which is pivotal to set up a comeback.
“Our guys battled today very well. As you could see, if we can keep it close, we can do anything,” said Ondrusek, who got the victory with a scoreless 10th.
No. 1 star: Ryan Dempster, CHC — 8 ip, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 101 pitches/67 strikes. He deserved a better 35th birthday. Two of his hits came from the bat of Joey Votto. He was burying the Reds all afternoon.
“According to our reports, he could be 3-0 and 4-0 now,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “His ERA is under one. You can’t pitch much better than that. He was mixing it up with fastballs in, fastballs away, cut fastballs, sliders, changeups. Like last night, we weren’t sad to see him go.”
News and notes:
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in Major League history that two starting pitchers faced each other on their birthdays. Both Bailey, who turned 26, and Dempster signed balls for the Hall of Fame.
“I found out when I was in the training room and the Hall of Fame came in with some baseballs we were asked to sign,” Bailey said. “It’s pretty neat. I guess if you’re going to be in Cooperstown, there was worst ways you can be in there.”
*Chris Heisey provided a perfect sacrifice bunt in the 10th after Cozart’s single. Heisey reached when pitcher Rafael Dolis made a bad throw, allowing Cozart to go to third on the error.
“We have been practicing it. Obviously, it’s a big part of the game,” Heisey said of bunting.
*In the ninth with a runner on third base representing the potential winning run, Baker elected not to use his bench to bat for shortstop Wilson Valdez even though Rolen and Cozart entered the game on defense in the 10th.
“Last night the guy didn’t make Cozart look very good,” Baker said of Dolis. “If you recall, last night he made him look pretty bad.”
*Indeed, Cozart was caught looking at a strike three in the eighth inning by Dolis in Wednesday’s loss.
*The Cubs had five home runs in the two games here, all solo shots. The team entered the series with a MLB low nine homers.
“I tell all of our guys that if you’re not starting, it doesn’t mean you won’t be in the game. Stay in the game, stay ready and stay loose.” — Dusty Baker
“It’s a good swing to get on a plane with a win as opposed to being down about the loss.” — Chris Heisey
“We won. That’s what is most important whether I get the win or someone else gets the win. We get the win.” — Homer Bailey
“It didn’t look good there for a while but Homer and the staff kept us right there and kept us in range. After you come back and tie the game, kind of the only thing left is to finish it. That was a nice win for us. I don’t think it would have been a very happy flight to Pittsburgh the way those first eight [innings] went.” – Scott Rolen