A day after falling below .500, the Cincinnati Reds jumped right back there on the back of a splendid start from Mike Leake who led the Redlegs to a 3-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Despite a history of tough appearances against the D-backs and rough evenings when Chris Guccione was behind the plate, Leake overcame statistical deficiencies to dominate a lineup scuffling almost equally to the Reds.
Going 7.2 innings, Leake would strike out eight, tying for his second-highest total of the season. He would yield only five hits, a relatively low total considering he was leading the entire National League in hits allowed entering the game. Relying heavily on his cutter, Leake carved up Arizona bats.
For just the second time all season, Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill tossed a quality start. (His first came all the way back on April 2) At his best, Cahill retired 11 in a row. Still unable to have the longevity to throw 100 pitches in a start, Cahill exited after six after allowing a respectable three runs.
Getting on the board in the first inning, Todd Frazier got off a personal slump by driving in Billy Hamilton, who doubled to lead off the game. Frazier would have a brilliant evening, collecting two hits and lining a smash for a groundout.
Finally benefactors of instant replay, the second inning was extended via a manager’s challenge when Zack Cozart hit a slow roller to his former organizational counterpart in Didi Gregorius. Called out on the field, Cozart beat the throw by about a half step, leading to the overturn. That extended the inning for Leake, who although he has had a poor year with the bat, is still regarded as one of the premier hitting pitchers in the game. He would line a smash past a diving Martin Prado down at third base, bringing in the game’s second run.
Todd Frazier would continue his all-around game domination as he swiped second base for his 16th bag of the year. The two-out hitting finally struck as Brayan Pena sprayed an opposite field base hit just under the glove of a diving Mark Trumbo to bring home Frazier and put the Reds ahead 3-0.
While Leake was unable to get through eight innings, he turned the game over Jonathan Broxton who threw a whopping total of one pitch which was a fly out to centerfield to end the inning. With that one out, Broxton watched his ERA drop below one, settling at an eye-popping 0.97.
On to slam the door in the ninth was Aroldis Chapman, who continued his streak of appearances with a strikeout, which now stands at 45 consecutive. He would get two groundouts before blowing away Didi Gregorius with a 103 MPH fastball to seal the victory. Chapman’s 23rd save of the season was also his 100th save of his career—a thought once unattainable when he was in starting rotation limbo.
With a chance to win the series on Wednesday, the Reds will send Alfredo Simon to the mound against Diamondbacks ace Wade Miley for a 12:35 p.m. start. The game tomorrow afternoon will be the Reds’ final at home for a week before heading on the road to Miami and Cleveland.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds