It Almost Got Away

A 4-1 lead entering the bottom of the 9th. Surely a three run lead wouldn’t slip away. Even if the much maligned Francisco Cordero was going for the save.

They’re never easy anymore. Not when you’re on the cusp of clinching the division. Teams want to keep you from celebrating on their home turf. A hit batsman, a couple of hits, a couple of errors left the Reds scurrying for a 4-3 win at Miller Park.

For his third straight outing since returning from a stint in Dayton to work on mechanical issues, Edinson Volquezwas as sharp as he’s been since returning from the disabled list. All three have been quality starts. Last night was no exception as Volquez went eight innings, allowing only one run on only three hits. The only downside was that his control was a bit off in his last three innings where Volquez issued four walks.

The bottom of the ninth started out with a Rickie Weeks single. Cordero battled Corey Hart and Hart eventually flew out to Jay Brucein right. Cordero then hit Ryan Braun. First and second with one out and Prince Fielder at the plate. Then, we saw a side of Coco we rarely see. He got Fielder looking at a call strike three on an inside pitch. Maybe Cordero is just comfy throwing that pitch at a place he once called home.

Casey McGehee approached the batter’s box and the scariness and craziness began.

McGehee sent Cordero’s first pitch into right. Weeks would score easily, but Bruce charged the ball and, in his haste to potentially make a play at third on Braun, he booted the ball…twice. Once with his glove, the other with his right foot in an attempt to recover the ball. Bruce finally retrieved the ball and fired it into the infield to…nobody. He completely missed the cutoff man in Brandon Phillips. The ball skipped through the infield and avoided Cordero who was backing up the play. After Cordero finally gained control of the ball, Braun had crossed home with the Brewers second run and McGehee was standing on third. Bruce was given two errors on the play.

The tying run was a mere 90 feet away when Dusty Baker made his best move of the game.

No, he didn’t pull Cordero. Baker called a meeting on the mound with the whole infield. Settle his closer down and provide the others with a pep talk…of sorts. It worked as Cordero struck out Carlos Gomez on four pitches. Game over. Reds win, 4-3. Coupled with another Cardinals loss and the magic number is now down to 4.

Not lost in the win was another apparent injury to Jim Edmonds. Edmonds was pressed into playing first (he was originally to play center to give Drew Stubbs a day off) after Joey Votto was scratched due to a sinus infection. Chris Heisey played center so Stubbs would still get a deserved day off.

Edmonds stroked a home run in the 2nd of Brewers starter Dave Bush. As he was approaching third base, Edmonds came up lame and hobbled the rest of his way around. Right leg strain. Done for the game and replaced by Miguel Cairo. At first I thought that Baker may go with Yonder Alonso considering the whole lefty-righty thing. That’s why I do this and Baker makes seven figures. Cairo went 2-3 with an RBI.

Going for the sweep tonight as Johnny Cueto (12-5, 3.35) and Randy Wolf (12-11, 4.32) take the mound at 8:10 PM ET. And that magic number will dwindle a bit more…