A 4-game winning streak, six wins out of eight, for these Reds. Impossible?
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammed Ali
The Reds go for a sweep of Dusty Baker’s first-place team tomorrow afternoon.
Hands Can’t Hit What Hands Can’t See Dan Straily turned in one of his best starts of the year, limiting the Nationals to two hits and two walks. Straily struck out three. The sole blemish on his day was a wandering change-up that Anthony Rendon deposited over the left-field fence. It was Straily’s sixth so-called “quality start” in his last eight appearances.
Float Like a Butterfly The game started with a tremendous defensive play by Billy Hamilton racing to right center and leaping at the fence to steal an extra-base hit from Nationals lead-off hitter Ben Revere. Hamilton earned a full-arm extension tip of the cap from Straily. Joey Votto added a couple nice defensive plays in the second inning fielding grounders to his right. Tucker Barnhart threw out Ben Revere and Bryce Harper attempting to steal.
Sting Like a Bee Jay Bruce hit his 12th home run of the year, a solo shot to left-center. Joey Votto knocked in the next two runs with a blast to deep right-center in the sixth. It was Votto’s fourth home run in the past nine games, giving the Reds a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, before the deluge, Votto walked and Bruce singled him to third. After play resumed, Adam Duvall jacked Shawn Kelley’s fourth pitch way far into the left field deck for a three-run homer. Duvall’s 16th broke a 3-3 tie.
Too Ugly to Be World Champion Horrific base-running in the seventh inning cost the Reds two outs. Tucker Barnhart grounded to shortstop and when Danny Espinosa threw the ball past first baseman, Barnhart decided he could get to second base. He was thrown out by the Nationals catcher by 40 feet (no exaggeration). After Kyle Waldrop singled into right field for his first major league hit, he was picked off first base, Little League style. Reliever Ross Ohlendorf gave up a game-tying home run in the top of the eighth.
Done Handcuffed Lightning Tony Cingrani pitched the ninth and retired the heart of the Nationals line-up in order. Man, if he could always throw strikes.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.