Go ahead and feel free to bounce around, it’s the first significant win the Reds have had since last September.
With the impending rain storm first delaying the game, then threatening to wash it out had the night gone much longer, Chris Heisey figured that since there was another game in just about 12 hours’ time, he should send everyone home happy. Swatting a 0-1 fastball from Carlos Martinez into centerfield, Heisey was mobbed after he touched first base by everything from hands and bodies, to water bottles and sweatshirts. It may have taken the Reds awhile to score their first run of 2014, but it was well worth it.
In a game that wasn’t all too dissimilar from its predecessor on Monday, those in attendance were just glad it took place; especially considering the Reds were on the winning side, 1-0. Conflicting reports had the game everywhere from starting on time to cancelled, but come 9:50 P.M., Tony Cingrani hummed the first pitch in.
The story in this one will be (and deservedly so) predominantly about the fireballing lefthander. Tony Cingrani was everything the Reds could have hoped for and more on this night, even with his start time being pushed back by nearly three hours, usually a critical calculation for most meticulous hurlers. He ended the night throwing seven innings, just allowing two hits and two walks, but struck out nine, including the final batter he faced, Mat Adams, to strand two base runners and escape a jam in the seventh.
Chalked up in the category of astounding stats that nobody knew, Tony Cingrani holds the all-time record for most consecutive starts with allowing five hits or less, now, at 19 games. If that isn’t fascinating enough, those 19 starts have been Cingrani’s first 19 starts in the Major Leagues! Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, Cingrani has put up astounding numbers thus far in his young career, but it may not be too long before we start viewing him as a premier pitcher in the National League.
As hyped up as the crowd got on both Cingrani’s strikeout and Heisey’s walk-off, Zack Cozart’s stellar grab to end the top half of the eighth inning still may have gotten the biggest roar of the night. With a 0-2 count on Matt Carpenter, Manny Parra attempted to bury a slider that the Cardinals third baseman just got a piece of, flaring it into shallow centerfield. Taking a nearly impossible angle on the ball, Cozart stretched out his glove and went full extension, hanging onto the ball and sliding into shallow right centerfield with his fist pumping and Billy Hamilton high-fiving him.
Collecting his 1,000 hit of his career tonight was Joey Votto. Shooting a double down the left field line sounds like typical Votto, especially after he rocketed a fastball his next at-bat into right field. Going 2-for-3 on the night with a walk, Votto looked much more comfortable against the younger and less experienced Wacha, who does not have his number like Adam Wainwright. Even with the quick turnaround, expect to see Votto’s name penciled into the three-hole tomorrow afternoon against Lance Lynn.
As of now, the game tomorrow afternoon seems to be up in the air. Everything from rain clouds to thunderstorms are threatening to make the Reds and Cardinals not have a decisive winner in their first rubber match clash of the season.
Should the game take place, we already know that Tucker Barnhart will be making his Major League debut behind the plate, catching Homer Bailey. In addition, it would not be a surprise to see Chris Heisey make his way into the lineup for either an older Ryan Ludwick, or a struggling Billy Hamilton, just to give him a day to catch his breath. Dusty Baker always relied on maximizing each member of his roster, giving players such as Cesar Izturis and Paul Janish ample playing time to “keep their bat ready.” It will be interesting to see the path new manager Bryan Price takes with that, and there is no better way to find out than a day game after a night game.
Looking to follow in the footsteps of his teammates, Homer Bailey takes to the hill tomorrow afternoon for the Reds against Lance Lynn, a 15-game winner for the Cardinals in 2013. Thankfully, the game will be covered on television, so for those that can’t make it down to the ballyard, you’ll be able to catch your first glimpse at the Reds donning their red tops during the afternoon.
Cross those fingers and toes that the rain holds out and we can see the Reds and Cardinals clash one final time before their collision in St. Louis next week.