A couple nights ago, I went to a restaurant in St. Louis—called Juniper for those curious—that had hands down the best fried chicken I’d ever tasted. Now, as someone from Nashville, laying claim to the best fried chicken outside of Tennessee, much less outside the South, is a bit like saying that Cincinnati’s chili can’t hold a candle to the stuff in New York. It just doesn’t happen, but it did.

Tonight, I ate the leftover chicken I had brought home, which is always a bit of an adventure because chicken just doesn’t keep well. And yet, the first bite brought back all of those happy memories; the second reminded me that this was leftovers; and three through the finish showed I didn’t care.

If you haven’t seen where this is going yet, my chicken experience in part resembled the Reds game tonight. We didn’t know if the Reds would be as good today as they were a day before—it has been four years since back to back beatdowns after all:

But, the reheated Reds were just as good as the original serving, leaving each paying customer full, satisfied, and hopefully more room for thirds tomorrow.

Cincinnati Reds 14 | San Francisco Giants 2 | 5 out of 5 star review

Completely renovating their menu from my last trip to the Reds vs. Giants eatery five years ago, the chefs have migrated toward a leaner, more dynamic taste. From the very first appetizer—a Billy Hamilton triple drizzled with an Adam Duvall upper deck moonshot—the chefs were peppering the taste buds. Using the complementing flavors of Hamilton and the aged red Amir Garrett wine throughout the meal, the flavor kept a dull heat on the tongue, continually driving home run after run. The only minor complaint against the tasting menu would be the second appetizer—a bit of walk saturated, Patrick Kivlehan error-marred effort. The dish was so bad, it prompted my dining partner Chris Welch to say “Can anyone around here play this game?”

But there many opportunities for atonement. The main course, a full turn around the batting order with complementing Kivlehan and Eugenio Suarez home runs as sides, was the star of the dish. Finally for dessert a pair of pinch hit RBIs by Arismendy Alcantara and Scooter Gennett, washed down with a 3.0 inning, no-hit Robert Stephenson nightcap.

Highlights of the night:

Amir Garrett dominated with 6.0 innings of two run baseball. The four walks were less than ideal and two of them directly led to runs, but overall it was a spectacular night for the young lefty.

Billy Hamilton had a day of all days, hitting for three quarters of the cycle before the third inning was even up. Hamilton also made a routinely (for him anyways) incredible catch in the second inning to prevent more damage than had already been done. It’s Billy’s world and we’re all just living in it.

Adam Duvall’s moonshot in the first inning elicited an audible gasp from me, causing the girl walking by where I was sitting to turn and look. Tell me you could hit a ball that far. You can’t, you’re lying.

Eugenio Suarez also got in on the fun after the game was well out of reach, putting the Reds up 11-2 with a solo shot of his own. Suarez is on a bit of a streak of late, hitting .333 (6 for 18) with two home runs and eight RBIs in the last four games.

Patrick Kivlehan had a rough go of it in the second inning, making one nightmarish error and dropping another ball at the wall, but he wound up putting together probably the best hitting performance of the night. Kivlehan went 4 for 5, launching a solo shot and scoring two runs of his own.

Robert Stephenson looks far more comfortable at the back of the pen now then he did at the beginning of the season, and put together three solid innings of no-hit ball to show for it. Bob Steve even got his turn at the plate, but took a swinging strikeout on a full count.

I feel like I’ve almost mentioned everyone in this highlights section, but I’d be remiss if I left out Zack Cozart and Joey Votto, who each continued their hot streaks with two-hit efforts. Votto’s opposite field RBI double signified the point in the game when it was clear that anything the Reds put in play would fall for a hit.

Not So Random Thoughts (or a return to the restaurant review metaphor):

To recommend a patron to attend a restaurant twice in a row would be sacrilege at any other institution, but at Reds vs. Giants eatery? I couldn’t recommend it more. The zest and zeal with which these cooks put together a mastery of a beatdown makes you recall the run rules of your childhood past, that nostalgia only enhancing the meal. The Chicago Cubs have long sat atop our restaurant rankings as the best in this central division, but after tonight’s meal, I must say the Reds are likely to have drawn into a tie. With the tasting menu all but said and done, I guess there’s only one more question to be asked:

Thirds anyone?

Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. I apologize ahead of time for my ignorance but how does Bob Steve get the save when the Reds were ahead by twenty-billion runs?

    • Because this:

      A relief pitcher is awarded a save when he meets all three of the following conditions:

      He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and
      He is not the winning pitcher; and
      He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
      He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or
      He enters the game, regardless of the score, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat, or on deck; or
      He pitches for at least three innings.

    • If you pitch the final 3 innings you are eligible for a save.

      • Thanks guys, I didn’t know about the three innings rule.

      • I thought you have to pitch 3 “effective” innings. If the score is 18′-3 and you allow 14 runs in 3 innings you don’t get a save; right?

        • I believe he is credited with a save unless he is responsible for the tying run. So in your example, yes he would get the save.

  2. The Reds had it all tonight while the Brewers lost and the Cubs are losing in the 8th. inning and will probably see Chapman in the 9th.

  3. Suarez really dug low for that home run ball — very impressive. Duvall is in full on beast mode. Can;t remember a guy with this kind of power since maybe Dunn and Wily Mo but those guys struck out way more often. I have to say this team is definitely out performing expectations… can they keep it up? If so, we have an exciting summer to look forward to, gents.

  4. Your food metaphor was spot on, Wesley, but in the spirit of the weekend, might I suggest:

    “Cincinnati Red Leaders Proton Torpedo The San Francisco Death Stars”.

  5. I feel bad being even slightly negative after the last two days but I really wish Mesoraco would have got more involved in the slugfest. His HR the other day has really got me hoping he can round back into his old form. Maybe wishful thinking

    • Give him time, he’ll get there. He doesn’t have the luxury of playing every day since he’s dividing time with Barnhart. And batting 8th can’t help him much.

  6. As I sit in Giants country and watch the game with some friends that root for the Giants I would definitely be down for some thirds of that meal!

  7. Three innings saves. I’ll take a second helpings of that.

  8. 5 starters in the line-up with an OPS over .900. When’s the last time we saw that in Redsland?

    • I know its early but as of right now they have the 8th highest OPS in team history at .779. 1994 is currently tops with a .799

      • 2005 is 5th all-time. Griffey (.946), Dunn (.927), Javier Valentin (.883), Joe Randa (837), Felipe Lopez (.838) and Jason LaRue (.806)

        • That was the year I attended my first Reds games! I am middle age, but I never lived in the Nati I got into them growing up in Chicago because of Baseball Bunch and the Big Red Machine highlights. I’ve never looked back, been loyal to the Reds since I was 10 or so.

      • Suarez (1.008), Cozart (.979), Votto (.993), Duvall (.892), Schebler (.858)

      • Which indirectly highlights just how low Hamilton and Peraza are

  9. Hamilton’s stolen base % by year:
    2014 – 71%
    2015 – 88%
    2016 – 88%
    2017 – 95%

    Learning, he is

    • Heading for ASG, I guess (along with Suarez, Cozart, Votto, Duvall, Iglesias, etc.)

    • If he can stay health and swipe 95% of his bags, he’ll be a 4 WAR player. Even without offensive improvement. Amazing.

  10. Reds are presently 3rd in MLB in runs scored.

  11. If you are negative about this game then you are not a Reds fan. Simply awesome. You can say it is the Giants pitching or you can say the Reds are hot. Those will always be your 2 choices. For this series I will give it up for the Reds based upon working counts and driving out the starters…. including Cain their top pitcher so far this year.

  12. Next up for the Reds…Cueto, Tanaka, Sabathia

  13. Once again, Giants pitching looked baffled at what our Reds could produce. Hit after hit, run after run. Just amazing to watch.

    I’m seeing some level of maturity come to many of the players (yes, I know … “small sample size”). Even Kivelhan more than made up for the bonehead moves in the outfield and then filled in nicely to give JV a little breather at the end.

    And Suarez … what can you say about our 3B situation? He’s playing as well as any defensive 3B in the league and mashing it. Gives us time to develop Senzel to the fullest potential and then LOOK OUT!!! What another nice problem to have.

    Here’s to hoping we great Johnny the same way as we did Cain and Blach …

    • Don’t know what Nunez said to Kivelhan after his error but he said something. Seemed positve, not negative or taunting. Wish I know what he said.

  14. Great game all the way around.Stephensen went 3-1 and 2-1 against the first two hitters because he had no fastball command.He rebounded and got both out and except the two out walk in the ninth he dominated.Hit 98 and 99 the last inning and struck out the last guy on a nasty 87 mph slider.I still think he should start but what do I know.

    • I don’t know, either, but I agree with you. He may need to be brought along slowly with a number of multi-inning relief appearances, but he’s got the talent.

  15. Reds fan in the Bay Area. We’re catching the G-men at the best possible moment. Besides, Belt, Posey and Pence, name one other player who started last night? They can’t hit, can’t score runs, have bullpen woes and so-so SP now that Madbum went down. I’ve said it all along, when we get good SP, not even great, we can play with anybody. Acid test today vs. Cueto.

    • Well… Arroyo for one, but only because he’s named after our favorite rock star pitcher. These games have been great fun. No team is as good as the Reds have looked the last two nights but I’m certainly enjoying this taste of a much better Reds team!

  16. Amir Garrett has been sent to Louisville and Barrett Astin called back up. Either bullpen help or service time problems, I guess? If it is just bullpen help, doesn’t AG have to wait 10 days/games to come back? Shocking move for sure.

    • I believe he must stay in the minors a total of 17 days this year to get the additional year of control.

  17. No team is as good as the Reds have looked the last two nights but I’m certainly enjoying this taste of a much better Reds team! If it is just bullpen help, doesn’t AG have to wait 10 days/games to come back?

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