The Reds improved to 4-1 on the season with a 7-5 victory over the PIttsburgh Pirates Saturday afternoon. The victory featured what will likely be the oddest homerun we see hit all season. With the Reds trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the first, Adam Dunn jumped on the first pitch he saw from Tony Armas and drove it 369 feet to Right/Centerfield. On any other day this would be a flyball caught on the warning track. Today, however Xavier Nady decided to his best Jose Canseco impersonation and allowed the ball to bounce out of his glove and into the first row for a 2 run homer tying the game at 2-2. Dunn ended up going 1-2 with 3 walks, and 0 ks. Thats right 0 k’s! As the great philosopher Borat Sagdiyev once said "Very Nice!" .
The Harangatang then settled down to promptly retire 6 straight Pirates in the 2nd and 3rd innings. Things quickly unravelled in the 4th however when Adam Laroche led the inning off with solo blast. That was followed by a sharply hit double by Humberto Cota and then line drive single to RF by pitcher Tony Armas of all people. You know things aren’t going your way when Armas, who is a lifetime .100 hitter, knocks in a run on you. The Pirates led the game 5-4 at that point, but the lead would quickly disappear in the bottom of the inning.
In the bottom of the 4th both Dunn and Griffey worked walks and 2B Brandon Philipps singled to load the bases. Edwin Encarnacion then hit his 2nd single of the afternoon to centerfield scoring both Dunn and Phillips, putting the Reds ahead to stay 6-5.
The bullpen would close things out brilliantly yet again for the Reds. Five RP would combine for 3 and 1/3 IP of work allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4. The two most impressive performances being from rookie Jon Coutlangus (stop laughing….seriously stop laughing……..it’s not THAT funny…….ok maybe it is a little funny) and veteran Rheal Cormier who both recorded K’s in to the only batters they faced.
Narron managed the game well today. Bringing in the correct pinch hitters and relieft pitchers at the right times. My only criticism of him today is the way he handled Aaron Harang in the 5th and 6th innings. With 1 out and a runner on 2nd in the bottom of the 5th inning Harang came to the plate and advanced the runner to 3rd with a nicely positioned ball to the right side of the field. Harang would then retire the first 2 batters he faced in the next inning, only to be taken out for Coutlangus after allowing 1 hit. I don’t understand why Narron wouldn’t have just pinch hit for Harang in the 5th with a runner in scoring position if the leash was going to be so tight on him in the 6th.
However, that is just one small complaint in what has been a great week of baseball for Reds fans everywhere. At 4-1 we are in first place and get to enjoy a day game on Easter to help wash down all the great food and family fun.
Notes from the Minors
Louisville lost 14-2 Saturday with a couple of horrible performances from SP Tom Shearn and Steven Kelly. The pair combined to go 6 innings allowing 14 runs 11 of them earned. A couple of bright spots from that game include RP Gary Majewski pitching 1 scoreless inning and OF Dewayne Wise going 2-4 with a double.
Chatanooga won 5-0 with a very impressive opening performance from Camilo Vazquez. Vazquez allowed 1 hit over 6 IP and struck out 3. He did however allow 5 walks. The hitting stars were RF Cody Strait who went 2-5 with a double and Paul Janish who was also 2-5. OF Marland Williams went 3-4, however at 25 years old and still in double A ball I doubt Reds fans ever see much of him.
This it for today, have a Happy Easter!