Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers Rock Reds, 8-2

On this afternoon, one would be hard pressed to blame the lack of hits for the team’s overall ineffectiveness.  Tallying 10 hits in an 8-2 loss was certainly not the issue; rather, it was the five unearned runs the club allowed to scamper across the plate.

The duel of the two ace starting pitchers came to a stalemate as the game was even at 2 when both men exited, before the Reds bullpen (and defense for that matter) collapsed around them.

Offensive Side of the Diamond:

He has turned from a Cincinnati phenomenon, in to the most interesting man in baseball in nearly a fortnight.  Billy Hamilton is no longer drawing the attention of just those in the Midwest; he has become a global commodity, due to his godly speed and precision at swiping bases. 

For the first time all spring, he struck out this afternoon, twice, in fact.  His other at-bat produced (what else?), a bunt infield hit that allowed him to cozy up to first.  Miraculously enough, he did not swipe a bag, but he did scooter around to score on the RBI double off the bat of Jay Bruce. 

The only other run to cross the plate came off the bat of Ramon Santiago, as he drove home fellow utility infielder Chris Nelson, to tie the game at 2 apiece for the time being. 

After Henry Rodriguez singled to center and watched as Santiago was tagged out at home, the Reds had watched their last legitimate scoring opportunity slip by.  Facing legitimate Major Leaguers (All-Stars, even) in Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz proved to be the decisive factor in the outcome.

Reds’ Toeing the Rubber:

Facing the club from his home Lone Star state, David Dewitt Bailey got his rudimentary four innings of work in.  In what was a bizarre occurrence, he had home plate stolen on in him in the second as Devin Mesoraco fired the ball down to second attempting to catch the runner, as the runner at third returned home to score.

His second run allowed came in much more conventional fashion, as super prospect Jurickson Profar, little known for his power, cranked out a home run on a line drive to right field.  Bailey finished with four innings of work, three hits allowed, two earned runs and five strikeouts. 

Befallen at the hands of his defense, Jeff Francis received the loss on the day without allowing an earned run.  After Zack Cozart’s throwing error allowed the leadoff man to reach, the inning was not finished until Elvis Andrus’ two-RBI single pushed the Rangers ahead for good.

Also bearing the brunt of poor defense was “Big Red” Curtis Partch.  Unable to escape the 7th inning before allowing four runs (one earned), Partch suffered from the error of Cozart’s replacement, Rey Navarro. 

Finishing out the day with a scoreless inning and third of work was the team of Carlos Contreras and Jumbo Diaz.

* * *

On Tuesday afternoon, the Reds return to Goodyear to welcome in the San Francisco Giants and their newest hired gun, Tim Hudson.  Tony Cingrani takes the hill in opposition at 4:05 PM down at Goodyear Ballpark.

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