It was home sweet home for the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night as they toppled the Colorado Rockies by a final of 4-3 in their final at-bat.
Playing the role of hero was Joey Votto, whose walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth sent Great American Ball Park into a frenzy and sent the capacity crowd home happy.
It is a shame that Johnny Cueto could not be the recipient of the victory after Jonathan Broxton relinquished the lead in the ninth, but as long as the team got the W, Cueto is sure to be pleased.
Not usually a recipient of very much run support, Cueto must have been overwhelmed early on when the Redlegs pushed across a run in each of the first two innings.
With Billy Hamilton needing at least another day to recover from injury, Skip Schumaker got the party started with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first. The Reds played the ol’ “get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in,” as Brayan Pena and Brandon Phillips did the job to put the Reds ahead 1-0.
Not soon into the second inning did the home crowd have to wait for more offense as Todd Frazier redefined “unloading” on a baseball, as it soared as far as the top of the batter’s eye in dead center field. Sailing a miraculous 486’, Frazier’s blast is listed as the sixth longest in the history of the ballpark.
As good as Johnny Cueto has been this season, expecting him to be able to hold only a two-run lead over the course of every contest seems a bit unreasonable.
In the top of the fourth, the hottest hitter on the planet earth, Troy Tulowitzki, finally created a chink in the armor of Cueto. Homering to left centerfield, the Rockies had cut the deficit in half.
The following inning, they tied the game on an RBI single from Charlie Blackmon.
Finishing his night with eight innings thrown, Cueto struck out eight while yielding only two runs in accordance with five hits and a single walk. His most impressive inning was his last, where he retired the top of the Rockies order, ending his night by retiring the last 11 batters he faced.
With the Reds bench thin of powerful bats, Billy Hamilton was sent up in the bottom of the eighth to pinch-hit. Assumedly, because he was unable to start the game, he would be unable to swing the bat. That is, until he lashed a double down the right field line to lead off the inning, putting the Reds in business.
Being the consummate grinder that he is, Skip Schumaker was able to lie the bunt down to move Hamilton over to third. Then, with the fastest man in the sport sitting at third with less than two outs, Brayan Pena knew that all he had to do was drive a ball to the outfield. He did precisely that with a medium depth fly ball to right field, that even with the throw home, did not come moderately close to catching the flying Billy Hamilton.
In a surprising move, Aroldis Chapman was not activated before the game on Friday. With no Cuban Missile locked and loaded in the Reds ‘pen, it was Jonathan Broxton’s game to close out in the ninth.
Realistically, no pitcher can go through the season not allowing a run and saving every single game. You just hope that when it happens, the team is able to rally and come back. Broxton allowed both his first run and blown save of the season Friday night as Justin Morneau knotted the game at three on an RBI double.
Rockies reliever Boone Logan was sent back out for the ninth inning to pitch to one batter, and one batter only—Joey Votto. Getting behind 3-0 in the count, Logan figured he could groove a fastball down the center of the plate with the ultra-conservative Votto in the box.
Like nearly every other Reds fan watching, Logan was stunned when Votto uncoiled and walloped a walk-off home run to dead centerfield that even Drew Stubbs could not reach.
Rounding the bases, Votto showed some rare signs of emotion, pumping his fists and letting out a victorious roar as he rounded the first base bag.
The two teams will get underway at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday with Alfredo Simon pitching for the Reds, while Jordan Lyles goes for the Rockies.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it seems both Billy Hamilton and Aroldis Chapman will be ready to go for the game tomorrow, as the Reds try to crawl back to a sense of normalcy.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds