As the weather heats up, the Cincinnati Reds bats continue to trend in the polar opposite direction.
Stymied by Josh Collmenter, the Arizona Diamondbacks rode the back of their starter to a 4-0 victory over the Reds in just under two and a half hours of action.
Sending just 27 batters to the plate, not much of a flame was ever ignited by the Reds lumber. Just three hits were scratched out (albeit they were all well hit) as Collmenter pitched to contact, rather than blowing the Redlegs away.
A night after defeating the game’s premier pitcher, a letdown was in order as the “below hitting speed” stuff of Collmenter bedazzled Cincinnati batters.
Difficult to combat as the opposition, Tony Cingrani did not have much room for mistakes. Unfortunately, he was far from his dominant self of what has become the past.
The game began ominously enough for Arizona, with A.J. Pollock stroking a leadoff double before swiping third, and scoring, when Devin Mesoraco threw the ball into left field. Just a single batter into the game, and the Diamondbacks would never look back.
Maddening fact about baseball: turning off the game not more than 15 minutes into the action would have resulted in the same outcome, as Arizona would only increase their lead and kick dirt in the Reds wounds.
A beneficiary of Zack Cozart’s brilliant defense behind him in both the second and third inning, Tony Cingrani managed to not let another run cross the plate until the fourth. Most times, starters that are bailed out early by their defense can eventually find their stuff later in the contest; this was no such time for Cingrani.
Aaron Hill led off the fourth inning with a home run that looked as if it were released from a slingshot. Clearly spent after his five innings of work, Cingrani was not only allowed to bat for himself in the sixth inning, but also trotted back out to the hill for the bottom of the inning.
After Martin Prado doubled to the depths of right centerfield and Hill nearly beheaded Cingrani, it was time for the showers. Striking out just three batters, and fooling no one, Cingrani allowed three runs to score (all leadoff hitters in an inning) in just five innings of lackluster work.
Whispered off somewhere silently in the distance, someone must have said that J.J. Hoover had six consecutive scoreless appearances, because the jinx was in full effect.
Never the type of pitcher to be successful when throwing a second consecutive inning, Hoover’s streak was spoiled after allowing a run in the bottom of the seventh to the meat of the D-backs order. Once again, it was A.J. Pollock at the heart of things, stroking a triple, and eventually scoring on Martin Prado’s RBI single.
With the pitching being moderately effective, it was not as if the offense could not climb back into the game. Standing in their way was Josh Collmenter—he who had never thrown a Major League complete game before Thursday night.
Two hits by Brayan Pena and a single by Billy Hamilton would all be erased by subsequent double plays following their at-bat. Thus, the 27 batters faced. For the funky throwing right-hander from Reds Country, it was simply Collmenter’s time to shine.
The former Red will toe the slab for the first pitch at 9:40 p.m. once again as the Reds look to put a halt to their horrendous offensive slide.