Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….
W: M. Leake (9-4)
L: F. Liriano (9-4)
S: A. Chapman (22)
–Chris Heisey continued his strong play since returning to the club from injury. Tonight, Heisey reached base three times, going 2-3 with a walk and a homer in the first. He had a second RBI on an infield single in the fifth that scored Mike Leake.
–Devin Mesoraco went 2-3 with a walk, and made a great play on a third-strike wild pitch in the ninth to record the second out for Aroldis Chapman. Mesoraco also started a beautiful double play, when he fielded a bunt in front of the plate and quickly threw a perfect strike to Zack Cozart at second, who made a pretty good play of his own to deliver the ball to BP covering first. Pretty baseball.
However, see below.
–Brandon Phillips blew the game wide open, with a bases-loaded double in the fifth inning that scored three and put the Reds ahead by a score of 5-0.
–Joey Votto went 1-2 with a run scored and two walks. But, according to some, Votto isn’t paid to get on base three times in four ABs.
–Manny Parra was spectacular out of the pen, especially in the seventh when he got a key strikeout to end a Pirate rally.
–Devin Mesoraco made two bone-headed plays on the basepaths, in back to back innings. TOOTBLAN.
–That’s a great way to start the second half, with a strong win against a team that is ahead of the Reds in the standings. With the victory, Cincinnati pulled to within three games of the second-place Pirates in the Central.
–Mike Leake was simply rolling through five innings. All of a sudden (as tHom Brennaman would say), after Leake was given a five run lead, the wheels fell off. In the sixth, Leake surrendered three solo homers and couldn’t finish the inning. In all, he went 5.2 innings, allowing those three runs on six hits and two walks.
–The bullpen was a little shaky (with the exception of Parra), but didn’t allow a single run in three and a third innings.
–This Pittsburgh team is probably better than recent Pirates clubs that we’ve seen. Still, let’s not forget that, on July 19 of each of the last two years, the Pirates were in first place in the National League Central. As fellow editor Bill Lack likes to say, pretend I’m from Missouri. Show me. Perhaps this year’s Bucs won’t collapse like the last two versions, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on them until they prove themselves.