For the third consecutive day, the Cincinnati Reds found themselves winners out in the desert as they topped the Arizona Diamondbacks by a final of 4-3 during the series finale on Sunday.
Powered by their four solo home runs, the Redlegs would slug their way to victory, resorting to the tactics of old.
Early on in the contest, it seemed that after two straight days of precision and focus, the club was slipping just a bit. First and third with nobody out in the second inning never panned out due to baserunning gaffs, as Wade Miley mowed down the competition.
True to the Reds mantra, Zack Cozart waited for things to get bleak before shooting a spark of life back into the offense. Homering on the first pitch of the third inning, it was only the second home run of 2014 for the everyday shortstop.
Although Miley would strike out the side in the third and have six punchouts through three innings, Todd Frazier would slam one of his offerings into the left field bleachers before the inning was through. On the back of the left side of the infield, it was a 2-0 lead early for Cincinnati.
Another strikeout and another home run next inning for Miley, who was victimized by Ryan Ludwick, who hammered a low-and-inside offering just around the foulpole for the third solo shot of the game up to that point.
Through three innings, Alfredo Simon had cruised. The same can be said about his last start in Los Angeles last week that ended abruptly with Simon not even escaping the fourth inning before being sent to the showers. It seemed as if the pasta had been left to boil too long once again.
In just a bizarre set of circumstances, Simon would allow three runs on four hits and a walk in the fourth, tying the game back at three. Miguel Montero, Eric Chavez and Ender Inciarte would all drive in runs as the ball sailed to every crevice imaginable at Chase Field.
Before that inning, Simon had allowed just two measly singles. After that inning, he would allow just one more single before eventually being pulled with an out already recorded in the seventh. Technically, Simon qualified for a “quality” start, but it can be better classified as an “unusual” start.
As the calendar flips to June, things such as “sample size” begin to even out and the cream of the crop begins to rise. Simply a byproduct of statistical anomalies, Chris Heisey had driven in only a single run as a starter during the year, without a home run.
In the top of the fifth (sandwiched in between two strikeouts, nonetheless), Heisey took a Miley offering and deposited it deep amongst the throngs of folks occupying the seats deep beyond the left center field fence. Putting the Reds up 4-3, the lead seemed far from safe. Yet, it would hold as the game’s final score.
A beneficiary of line drives directly at people, LeCure escaped the seventh inning unscathed.
Disaster was averted for Broxton after Cozart ran a near country mile to grab a pop-up that seemingly hung in the air for minutes.
There was no such worry when the Cuban Missile took to the hill. Cranking it up to as fast as 103 MPH, Chapman disposed of the three Diamondbacks batters with ease, notching his sixth save of the season and sending the Redlegs to their plane ride happy.
A much welcomed off day occurs on Monday, as the club will do its best to accustom themselves to the time change.
Back underway on Tuesday night, the Reds welcome in baseball’s best team, at least record wise, in the San Francisco Giants.
Homer Bailey faces off with Tim Lincecum, who was the starter the last time Bailey threw his most recent no-hitter. Looking to repeat history, the first pitch will get underway at 7:10 p.m. as the Redlegs look to extend their winning streak to four.