Missile Launched in 8-4 Win over Brewers

The greatest moment of the evening was in the top of the 8th inning with the entrance of Aroldis Chapman. There were other moments/events that occurred at Great American Ball Park last night, too.

An odd occurrence. Jonny Gomes with an opposite field home run? Really? In the bottom of the 4th, Gomes went oppo to give the Reds a 4-1 lead, a lead they would never relinquish. On a slider no less. The Brewers would close to 4-3 in the next half inning as Gomes misplayed a Chris Dickerson hit into a two-run error. That would be as close as Milwaukee would come.

All of the starting eight position players reached base and all had hits except Ryan Hanigan (0-2), but he walked twice.

Another stellar relief effort by Sam LeCure. LeCure pitched two innings of excellent ball allowing only that Dickerson single and a walk to opposing pitcher Yovani Gallardo. There wasn’t a lot of shame in that as Gallardo is a good hitting pitcher and is now hitting  .269 on the season after going 2-2 last night. Again, the fire was starting and LeCure put it out. He also emerged with the win.

Lost might be the gutsy effort of Aaron Harang. In his 4+ innings, Harang’s line doesn’t look spectacular (8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K). At least one of the runs was due to the Gomes error. Yes, there’s the 8 hits, but it was the 91 pitches (55 strikes) that eventually ended his evening. And he took a shot to his left foot off the bat of Craig Counsell. Harang would try to gut out the inning.

A pair of spectacular web gems. Both Joey Votto and Scott Rolen made excellent defensive plays in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory after Logan Ondrusek had allowed a 9th inning leadoff homer to Rickie Weeks. With a runner on first and one out, Votto dove to his left to snare a shot off the bat of Prince Fielder. As he was attempting to regain his balance (which he never really did), Votto fired a throw to second base to force Ryan Braun. On replay, it looks like the throw is going to hit Braun, but it missed him and went into the glove of Chris Valaika for the second out.

On the following at-bat by Casey McGehee, Rolen contributed a defensive gem of his own. Rolen ranged to his left and snagged McGehee’s grounder. Rolen then flipped the ball to Valaika, backhanded. Three outs. Ball game. Reds win! Coupled with yet another Cardinals loss to Houston, that makes the Reds NL Central leaders by 7 full games…on the morning of September 1.

Speaking of Votto. He didn’t hurt his run at the NL MVP. 2-3, 3 RBI. He nows leads to NL in batting average and RBI.

And then liftoff. There was the Cuban Missile, Aroldis Chapman. He entered the game in the top of the 8th inning. Flash bulbs popping all over GABP. Music blaring. It was a sight unlike any ever seen at GABP. As Tim mentioned, no one was sitting. It was arguably the most anticipated debut in the history of the Cincinnati Reds. It was also the second most anticipated debut in all of baseball this season next to Stephen Strasburg. It might even be on the same level. And all the world is now abuzz with Chapmania!

And Chapman could pitch tonight, too.

You can relive his remarkable debut at this link on Reds.com.

After the game, the Reds confirmed the call ups of Yonder Alonso, Carlos Fisher and Corky Miller. To make room for Miller on the 40-man roster, Russ Springer was moved to the 60-day DL. More call ups are on the way and don’t be shocked if one is Matt Maloney.

One more game tonight against the Brewers before the weekend series in St. Louis. And the Cards have already stacked their rotation for the series. Garcia, Wainwright and Carpenter.