It’s said that baseball is a game of famous statistics. The mention of 56 is one of those iconic numbers any baseball fan can assign meaning without further explanation. That’s the number of consecutive games in 1941 that Joe DiMaggio got a base hit. Of the thousands of individuals who have played major league baseball, DiMaggio’s streak stands as the longest.
Ted Williams is the sole owner of the record for consecutive games reaching base twice, having done so 20 times in 1948. Tonight, Joey Votto had a chance to tie Williams, but only reached base once in four plate appearances. He was on deck when the Reds recorded their final out of the 9th inning. Votto had singled his first PA.
Votto will just have to start another streak.
Homer Bailey got off to a bad start. He gave up opposite field poke singles to the first two hitters, then he walked Kris Bryant before Anthony Rizzo’s grand slam. It’s hard to believe given that fact pattern, but Bailey actually had good stuff. His fastball was 95-96 from the start and he had good command. Bailey’s pitch to Rizzo was at the bottom of the strike zone. In 5.2 innings of work (season-high 109 pitches) Bailey struck out ten and gave up two more runs and four more hits. In the fifth inning, after walking Kyle Schwarber, Bailey struck out Bryant, Rizzo and Alex Avila.
Kevin Shackelford (28) relieved Bailey and retired the four batters he faced in the 6th and 7th. Two of the outs were Ks of Schwarber and Bryant. Wandy Peralta pitched a clean 8th inning.
With Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias unavailable, the Reds bullpen was a little short. Bryan Price left Peralta in to pitch the 9th. Peralta gave up a hit and a walk. After an out advanced the runners to second and third, Price summoned Blake Wood. After a huge strikeout, Wood bounced his first pitch to Kris Bryant. The ball got away from Tucker Barnhart and the winning run scored.
Phillip Ervin, who entered the game for Jesse Winker on the Bailey-Shackleford double-switch, drilled his first home run for the Reds to left field. It was also Ervin’s first major league hit. Juan Francisco was the last Reds player to homer for his first hit. That was in 2009.
Zack Cozart followed Ervin’s home run with a blast of his own, to deep left field. Cozart’s 17th homer of the year. 17 long ones is a career best for the reds shortstop, one more than last year. Cozart’s home run drove in Billy Hamilton.
Adam Duvall tied the game in the 8th inning with a dramatic, two-out pinch hit home run to left center field. It was his 28th of the season. Duvall drove in Eugenio Suarez, who doubled to lead off the inning. Suarez should be batting first in the lineup.
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.