Thursday, July 19, 2012

Split series: Reds rally D-Backs

Reds pitcher Mike Leake didn’t deliver today’s first pitch until 1:20 due to a light rain delay. The matinee featured Mike Leake  for the Reds and Arizona’s lefty Joe Saunders who concluded a four-game series between the clubs. The Reds victory kept the club in the running for the division lead and spliting the series with the D-Backs.

Willie Bloomquist started the top of the first with a single and stolen base as Mike Leake continued to battle the hot D-Back offense with slugger Jason Kubel and Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt knocked a RBI double while Upton grounded out ending the inning and stranding Goldschmidt.
Arizona’s lefty Joe Saunders worked a perfect bottom of the first; retiring the first three batters in order.

Mike Leake had a better second inning, retiring two, giving up a single and ending the inning by retiring the pitcher Joe Saunders.

The Reds offense leadoff the bottom of the 2nd inning with lefty cleanup batter Jay Bruce grounding out to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The .277 hitting Todd Frazier popped out on a 1-2 count bringing up left fielder Chris Heisey. Hiesey suffered the same fate as Frazier popping out to the outfield. The Reds bats remain hitless into the top of the 3rd.

Arizona leadoff hitter Willie Bloomquist kicks off the 3rd inning with a double as the sun broke out over the field. Aaron Hill replies with a first pitch RBI single giving the D-Backs a 2-0 lead with no outs. Aaron Hill was picked off by Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco while trying to steal second. The Threatening Kubel ran up the count 3-1 and popped out to center fielder Drew Stubbs. Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to shortstop Wilson Valdez ending the inning.

The bottom of the third was more of the same for the Reds club, three up three down.

Mike leake kept the D-Backs hitless for the first time in the game. Consistent breaking balls kept hits on the ground, the first two outs fielded by third baseman Todd Frazier. Leake walked the third batter Roberts who kept Leake on his toes after repeated attempts to steal a base. Henry Blanco struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to retire the side. 

Joe Saunders retired Drew Stubbs, retiring his 10th batter in a row. Wilson Valdez was the first Red to touch base drawing a walk. Brandon Phillips came to the plate with one out and a runner at first, popping out to the shortstop, 2 outs. Jay Bruce (0-15) takes 2 balls then lines one into center field to end the ending. Joe Saunders has yet to give up a hit to the struggling Reds offense.

Mike Leake retired the pitcher Saunders and the now 2 for 3 Willie Bloomquist. The D-Backs Aaron Hill homered off Leake in the top of the 5th inning giving the club a 3-0 lead. Stubbs and Heisey couldn’t get a jump on a fly ball from Kubel for a base hit. Phillips ends the inning on a Paul Goldschmidt pop up stranding Kubel at first.

Todd Frazier struck out swinging, bringing Reds outfielder Chris Heisey to the plate. Heisey walked marking the second Reds base runner of the game. Cairo first pitch swing popped out, 2 down with rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco to the plate who popped up to right field earlier in the game. Devin hit one on a rope for the first hit of the game bringing pitcher and slugger Mike Leake to the plate. Leake has two home runs for the year and is 11 for 33. Leake gets pitched to as a threatening batter rather than a pitcher but went down swinging to end the inning.

Justin Upton doubles to start the top of the 6th, Upton scores when Chris Young bats one off the outfield wall for a RBI double. The Reds bullpen started getting busy with no outs in the inning. Roberts’s sac fly advances Young to third bringing Blanco up to the plate trying to drive in the run, and he did just that with a two run homer. Leake couldn’t get through the inning and was relieved by Alfredo Simon. The Reds bullpen is stretched thin as the starters have been having troubles dealing quality starts for this club. Simon ends the inning without further damage after retiring Willie Bloomquist and Aaron Hill.

The Reds top of the lineup comes to bat in the 6th as Drew Stubbs singles on a solid hit. GABP conditions worsen as the wind picked up making it difficult for the D-Backs to field Stubbs’ single. Wilson Valdez replies with a shot down the line advancing Stubbs to third and no outs on the side. Brandon Phillips was offered a fastball left out over the plate and he took it for a three run home run, cutting the D-Backs lead in half (6-3). Jay Bruce struck out swinging for the first out of the inning brining Todd Frazier to the plate. Frazier stayed alive on a 3-2 count fouling off a fastball and took ball four for the walk. Chris Heisey tries to keep the Reds rally alive with a runner on and one out but popped out to Chris Young in deep center. Frazier never tagged up missing an opportunity to get into scoring position. Cairo lines out on a hard infield line drive ending the inning and the Reds rally.

Alfredo Simon continues to pitch for the Reds bullpen, looking to keep the club in the game. Aaron Hill, Jason Kubrel, and Paul Goldschmidt are due up. Simon brings on the heat but had troubles getting his pitches over the plate. Simon gets Hill to pop out to the charging centerfielder Drew Stubbs. Kubrel watches a 96 MPH fastball for the strike one before lining the next one to first baseman Miguel Cairo for the second out of the inning. Goldschmidt bangs a single down the third base line off a breaking ball, bringing Upton to the plate. Goldschmidt looked for two but was kept at first by Chris Heisey. Upton fouls off two consecutive pitches evening the count 2-2. Upton pops one foul for Miguel Cairo to end the side in foul territory.

Bryan Shaw relieved the Diamondback starter retiring Devin Mesoraco and walking Xavier Paul pinch hitting for Alfredo Simon. Shaw walks Drew Stubbs with runners now at first and second and one out on the side. The D-Back pitching staff is quick to get the bullpen buzzing trying to relieve Shaw. Wilson Valdez up to bat showing bunt but cracks a double through Paul Goldschmidt driving in Xavier Paul. With runners in scoring position, Brandon Phillips had a good at bat working Shaw and running the count 2-2 then slapping one into the outfield for a two run double tying the game 6-6. Shaw couldn’t keep the Reds offense at bay long enough for the bullpen to get loose, with the damage done the D-Backs finally get lefty Mike Zagurski who owns a 4.70 ERA but has kept his last 7 left hander’s hitless. Zagurski did his job by keeping Jay Bruce hitless and bringing two outs to the side. Zagurski was immediately relieved by right handed pitcher Brad Ziegler, a ground ball pitcher. Todd Frazier slaps one through into center field bringing the go ahead run home. The Reds now lead 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh. Chris Heisey comes to bat with two outs and Frazier on first, grounding out to end the inning.

NOTE: When Drew Stubbs scores a run, the Reds are 31-2. Baker said Wednesday “When he scores a run, our record is remarkable.”

Logan Ondrusek comes to the mound to protect the Reds one run lead.  Ondrusek retired Chris Young on a fly ball followed by Ryan Roberts on a soft ground ball. The lefty Sean Marshall relieves Ondrusek to end the inning. Montero singles into center and Lyle Overbay singles into right, the Reds reliever allowed two hits with two outs and now Reds closer Aroldis Chapman gets up in the bullpen. Marshall gets Bloomquist to ground softly to Todd Frazier who fired to Cairo, getting the out at first, retiring the side.

The Reds hold the lead as David Hernandez takes the D-Back mound. Hernandez a strikeout machine is looking to put Cairo, Mesoraco, and the pinch hitting Ryan Ludwick away in order. The hard throwing Hernandez does just that, three up three down. The Reds go to the top of the 9th with just a one run lead after a 6-0 start to the ballgame.

The Reds unleash their triple-digit hurler and first time All-Star Aroldis Chapman to turn off the lights on this come-from-behind struggle. Chapman, looking for his 15th save on the season and to add to his 80 strikeouts takes the mound as Aaron Hill steps up to the plate. Chapman’s first two pitches were wild almost getting away from Ryan Hanigan, who came in the game just to catch Chapman. Chapman settles in and throws a strike and a pop up for Hanigan to put away. Left handed batter Jason Kubel stands at the plate with just two outs to secure the Reds epic rally victory. Chapman blazes three fastballs past Kubel who didn’t even know what happened. Paul Goldschmidt steps in representing the D-Backs last chance to get it done. Chapman throws back to back 99 MPH fastballs working the count 0-2. Working the corners, Chapman runs the count 1-2 as Goldschmidt just gets a piece of it to stay alive. Chapman’s 2-2 pitch to Goldschmidt strikes him out to conclude the biggest comeback of the season. The Reds split the series with Arizona but maintains presence as the NL Central division leaders.

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