Navarro gives Reds walkoff win
The Three Stars from a 2-1 Reds walkoff victory over the Brewers:
No. 3 star: Mat Latos — 7 ip, 3 H, 1 R, 1 intentional BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 89 pitches/59 strikes. Latos retired 14 of his first 15 with the only blemish being Carlos Gomez’s leadoff homer to right field in the third inning. Considering how well he pitched, Latos didn’t feel his best on the mound.
“I was satisfied. I didn’t have my best stuff today at all. I felt like I battled. I felt like I had to grind the whole game. And I felt like I pitched real well even though I didn’t have my best stuff. I’m just happy for everything that’s been going on this year. I’m happy with my performance the whole year. I’m happy we’re winning ballgames.
“I didn’t have my fastball. I threw one at 88 today. My slider was in the dirt and couldn’t throw it for strikes. I hung a couple of them. But I was able to throw a few changeups today and that’s what really helped.”
In his last 18 starts, Latos is 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA. Overall he is 13-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 204 1/3 innings. With one more regular season start to go, he feels prepared for the playoffs.
“It’s the first time I’ve pitched 200-plus innings,” Latos said. “I’ve been healthy all year, thank God. Everything is right.”
No. 2 star: Todd Frazier — 1-for-4, HR. Until Frazier slugged a game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Reds offense was again sluggish. It had only three hits and was scoreless for 16-straight innings. The first-pitch shot to center field off of Brewers closer John Axford gave Frazier his first homer since Aug. 21.
Entering the at-bat, Frazier was 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts in his last three games.
“I’ve felt comfortable in every at-bat I’ve had this past week,” Frazier said. “I just couldn’t really put anything together. I’ve had some hits here and there, but nothing to the point where I’m stinging the ball like I usually do. It’s going to happen.”
No. 1 star: Dioner Navarro — 1-for-4, RBI triple. Navarro battled Axford for a nine-pitch at-bat, which including slugging two fastballs deep to right field and foul — a few feet from being home runs. Finally, Axford threw a curveball that Navarro drove to the warning track in right field as Jay Bruce scored the game-winner.
“It was a tough at-bat,” said Navarro, who has taken advantage of his chances since coming up in late August. “Frazier hit that big hit for us, I think that set the tone. I just wanted to put the ball in play and make something happen. Once I was at 3-2 I definitely didn’t want to strike out. I just wanted to put the ball in play. I knew Jay was going to be running and I tried to make something happen. Fortunately enough, the ball found the gap.”
News and notes:
*Brewers starter Willy Peralta was burying the Reds with 5 2/3 scoreless innings before he had to exit with a right biceps strain.
*The win covers over, at least for the day, the lack of hitting overall which was mentioned in the blog last night. Acting manager Chris Speier remains unconcerned about the bats.
“I think if we would be in St. Louis right now wondering if this was it, then you might be a little bit concerned,” Speier said. “Don’t get me wrong, good pitching is going to get good hitting out. This team came into our series on fire offensively. Good pitching is going to do that so I don’t think there’s any concern.”
Click here for the game story by Mark Clements.
Catch you Friday from Pittsburgh.