Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
W: J. Cueto (3-0)
L: W. Rodriguez (6-3)
–Simply outstanding performance by Johnny Cueto, and it’s good to see Johnny back to form after his stint on the DL. Cueto pitched eight shutout innings, permitting only one hit and one base on balls, while striking out six. That’s the Johnny Cueto I remembered.
–Jay Bruce got the Reds on the board in the fourth inning with a solo homer; on the night, he reached base three times (2-4, walk, two runs scored, RBI. Brandon Phillips also went 2-4 with a homer, a stolen base, three runs scored, and an RBI.
–Derrick Robinson only went 1-4, but he had an outstanding AB in the ninth inning with bases loaded and two outs, in which he fouled off five straight pitches with a 3-2 count before drawing a walk and getting an RBI.
–Ryan Hanigan singled and walked twice.
–Sam LeCure pitched a perfect ninth to preserve the one-hitter.
–Good night for the mighty Redlegs all the way around. After a rough couple of days in Cleveland, the Reds began a series with a division rival by putting together a very strong all-around performance. Me likey.
–If you aren’t a big fan of Sudden Sam LeCure, I don’t understand you. Seems like a great guy, and he’s a very effective pitcher.
–Cueto was thisclose to a no-hitter. In the bottom of the fifth, Cueto delivered a two-strike pitch to Brandon Inge that he thought should have been called strike three. The home plate umpire called it a ball (probably the correct call; it appeared to be low), and on the next pitch, Inge hit a little blooper to left field for the only Pittsburgh hit.
Cueto had 103 pitches after eight innings, and he likely would have returned to the mound if he had had a no-hitter going. As it was, the Reds batted for a long time in the top of the ninth, so Dusty Baker made the very reasonable decision to hand the ball to Sam LeCure to finish the game.