Leake getting it done

Reds starter Mike Leake had 99 pitches, but the last to Jason Giambi’s was the one … that hurt. On a 1-1 pitch, Giambi hit a monster pinch-hit homer off of the center field batters eye for a game-tying homer in the top of the eighth. It cost Leake a victory before the Reds won 4-2 on Joey Votto’s two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

“Even that pitch wasn’t a bad pitch. He did a very good job with it,” Leake said of Giambi. “They are very good lineup and that’s why they’re doing so well right now. They have threats throughout the lineup. They have speed at the bottom with Stubby. They’ve got power in the middle and power at the top. It’s going after them and trying to make them hit my pitches.”

Leake had another quality start with 7 1/3 ip, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. Over his last eight starts, he is 4-2 with a 2.13 ERA. His streak of scoreless innings ended at 16 2/3 when an unearned run crossed in the fourth inning. Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked about being in Leake’s corner as he’s battled for the club in recent years.

“They say I’m in Mike Leake’s corner, I’m in the corner of who I think can help us win, the potential that I see,” Baker said. “Not just what you see now, what I forsee now and in the future. He throws strikes, he’s learning. He’s learned how to move the ball in and out, cut it, sink it.”

*Once the final game story is edited and posted, please click here. It will have more on Joey Votto and his game-winner.

Other notes:

*Our Jeremy Warnemuende will have more on this for MLB.com soon, but there was a little interesting moment in the ninth inning when Reds closer Aroldis Chapman buzzed Nick Swisher high and inside with a 100 mph fastball. The pitch before that was 100 mph, outside and to the backstop. Swisher yelled “don’t do that” to Chapman and the two had some looks at each other on the field. Players from the Cleveland bench went to the top step of the dugout ready for something to happen.

“I know you guys are trying to stir some stuff up here,” Swisher told reporters in the visitor’s clubhouse. “The first one I saw go by and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty quick.’ And then that second one was a little too close to comfort. Let’s be honest, 100 mph at somebody’s head? That’s not exactly the best thing. … It was nice to see all those guys in the dugout. They had my back. So I do know that if something does happen, they’re going to be right behind me.”

Baker denied anything was going on. Chapman notched his 13th save with two strikeouts. Swisher gave a ball a deep ride to left field for a fly out.

“Is that the first time you’ve seen Aroldis throw one on the screen?” Baker said. “I just think that maybe everybody overreacted except the umpire. The umpire was really pretty cool about it handling the situation. That’s not something that we’d like to be known for or he’d like to be known for either. He was just trying to pitch him to the inside. It just looks bad when you’re throwing a projectile at 100 mph.”

In my opinion, if Chapman was trying to hit Swisher — it wouldn’t have been very bright to bring up the tying run to the plate. I really don’t think it was a purpose pitch. Giambi seemed to agree.

“That kid, god gifted him with an unbelievable arm,” Giambi said. “The first one to the backstop and then the second one, we just wanted to make sure that there was nothing. I don’t think there was. I’ve talked to Chapman plenty of times and he’s a great kid. But we’re going to have to protect our guys, too.”

*In the nice play of the day department, SS Zack Cozart robbed ex-teammate Drew Stubbs of an infield hit with a nifty barehanded grab and throw in the top of the third inning. It beat Stubbs by a full step. If any team knows Stubbs’ speed, it’s the Reds and certainly Cozart was aware.

“I was kind of shocked to be honest with you, when you know Stubby’s running, that I even had a play on it,” Cozart said. “But he got jammed so he couldn’t get out of the box as well. It was one of those things, I knew it was do or die. I had to barehand it. I did it and I was shocked that I got him. I couldn’t stay on my feet, obviously, but it was a pretty cool play.”

*Shin-Soo Choo led off the first inning with his team-leading 10th home run. It was his third leadoff homer this season and the eighth of his career.

*In the last 16 games, the Reds pitching staff has a 13-3 record and 2.49 ERA.

1 Comment

Interesting. Had our bullpen not failed in the last two ballgames we lost (starting with Chapman’s back-to-back HRs), the Reds would have won 15 of it’s last 16 ballgames and 9 in a row. We be on fire!

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