The Reds limped into today’s game against Washington in fourth place in the NL Central and two games behind the division leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds came calling today riding a three game losing skid and in desperate need of a road win.
The bats came to life early and the Reds drew first blood in the first inning. Zack Cozart smacked a single past a sliding Danny Espinosa, who has struggled defensively this series, and set the stage for Joey Votto who then doubled on a shot to left. Brandon Phillips drove in two runs on a scorching line drive right back up the middle into center field. For the moment, Phillips stands alone atop the National League with 24 RBI. Brandon also showed his speed by going first to third on a Jay Bruce single.
The Reds got to Nationals starting pitcher Ross Detwiler early and made him go to the plate 35 times in the first. Contrast that against Reds starter Tony Cingrani who threw just 17 pitches and retired the side in order. Cingrani followed up a stellar first frame by collecting his first Major League hit on a single that hit the third base bag. With Cingrani on first, Shin-Soo Choo hit a grounder to third baseman Anthony Rendon who then tossed it to Espinosa to turn the double play. Espinosa lost the handle and Choo reached first base, advancing Cingrani to second. Detwiler then walked Cozart to load the bases for Votto with one out. Votto drove a line drive to shallow right scoring Cingrani, his first Major League run. After two innings Detwiler was sitting on 53 pitches and Cingrani was perfect with 32.
The hits continued in the fourth when Corky Miller reached on a single off of Ross Detwiler’s left leg. Cingrani laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Corky over. Corky scored off of a single by Zack Cozart (which should have been ruled E5) and gave the Reds a 4-0 lead.
Cingrani struck out four batters in the fourth and became only the fifth Red to ever strike out four in a single inning. Denard Span reached on a swinging strike three when the ball squirted away from Corky. Cingrani turned in a two hit, 11 strikeout performance and improved over his first Major League start against the Cubs. The Reds could not have asked for more out of the young fireballer from Rice University in a fill-in capacity for the ailing Johnny Cueto.
From the file titled “Random”, home plate Umpire Sam Holbrook has a fantastic strike call vocal. A call we heard a lot today.
In the fifth inning, Xavier Paul dropped a routine pop-up to left and then some wackiness ensued. Cincinnati Enquirer’s C Trent Rosecrans explains:
That 7-6-2 put-out ended the inning and got the Reds out of a jam.
Sam LeCure came on in the seventh and was quickly pulled after allowing two hits, one walk and one run. Big lefty reliever Sean Marshall inherited LeCure’s mess but took care of business getting the remaining two batters to hit into infield groundouts and avoiding a Nats rally.
Henry Rodriguez came on for the Nationals in the eighth inning and did his best “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn impression, almost beaning Corky and almost hitting himself with a missle that riccocheted off of the backstop all the way out to the pitchers mound. That was pretty comical to watch. He threw 17 pitches; four for strikes.
The Nationals appeared to be having bullpen tryouts in the eighth which ultimately resulted in Corky Miller crossing the dish for the second time of the game and getting back the run that LeCure allowed.
Broxton came on in the eighth. After striking out Danny Espinosa, he walked Bryce Harper, who later scored after Choo misplayed a pop-up to right center field by Ian Desmond, bringing the Nats to within three. LaRoche popped out to Brandon Phillips in shallow right to end the inning.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth and did what he does best.
The day belongs to Tony Cingrani.
Reds win 5-2.
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