Reds Start Homestand with 7-1 Win

Game 1 to the Reds. Nice way to start the six game homestand. In reality, only two guys were needed last night, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto.

Bruce, who was inserted as the leadoff hitter (strange against a lefty in Gorzelanny), cranked three, count ’em, three home runs. All travelled over 400 feet (429, 411, 404). He became the first Reds leadoff hitter to crack three homers in a game since Pete Rose accomplished the feat in 1978. After Bruce’s 3-for-3, 5 RBI evening, Cubs interim manager Mike Quade summed it up best.

“A power-hitting guy and he winds up in the leadoff spot and does that. Bunt the ball or something, would you?”

The partisan Reds crowd of 36,219 not only witnessed Bruce’s first 3 HR game as a Red, but were also treated to a curtain call from the young right fielder.

Cueto pitched a nearly spotless 8 innings surrendering only one run en route to his 12th victory of the season. He permitted only 6 hits and didn’t walk a Cubs batter. Cueto struck out 8. A far cry from Cueto’s outing in L.A. when it was obvious he was too rested, couldn’t control any of his pitches and took the only Reds loss at Dodger Stadium. Of Cueto’s 112 pitches, 75 were strikes. Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who’s had success against Cueto in the past (.444, 3 HR), stated that Cueto was just too good.

“He had good stuff today — good location, good fastball, good movement. When a guy’s pitching with that command, there’s nothing we can do.”

And how about Chris Valaika and his first MLB home run? After Bruce had taken his second of the evening out to right field to make it a 5-1 Reds lead, Valaika followed with one to left. A no-doubter at that. What was really cool was that the fan that was able to secure Valaika’s first HR ball was none other that 1530’s Mo Egger. I’ll let Mo describe the events (via his blog).

“Tonight, Chris Valaika’s first Major League Homer landed right next to me. It actually hit my wife’s seat. Fortunately for her, she was not sitting in it, as about 60 seconds prior, she had left to pee. Had she been in the seat, the ball might have ripped off her face. The ball hit the seat, landed to my left, so I reached down and picked it up.My first inclination was to text my wife to commend her on her timing, and finish the tweet I was working on as Valakia went deep (I was tweeting about Jay Bruce showing how he 32s. I know, lame). It really didn’t occur to me that it was his first big league homer until a man in a yellow shirt approached me and asked me to go with him. My initial reaction: “they kick you out if you pick a homer?” Not the case. The man explained that since it was Valaika’s first homer, they wanted to get him the ball, and they’d be willing to offer something in return. Since this likely did not include a spot on the roster, I decided to simply hand the man the ball.”

Class. Didn’t hold the prized possession for ransom and surrendered the ball. He could have at least gotten some LaRosa’s, but Mo didn’t even go for that. Let the kid have the ball and a moment neither will ever forget.

And Sam LeCure? He pitched a perfect 9th to secure another Reds victory over the Cubs. A ground out and 2 K’s. For the season Cincinnati is 11-3 against Chicago.

Lost in all of this was that Joey Votto had an RBI. Funny how things are. The potential NL MVP gets lost in a win. Funny how this game works…