San Diego + Extra Innings = Win for Reds!

Yes, that IS a correct equation. I know extra innings at Petco Park usually spells doom for the Reds. Not last night/this morning. But is sure was something for that equation to work. Fun to watch as well. Oh, it was nerve-racking, but worth staying up late.

Once again Petco Park was eating fly balls and once again the Reds and Padres were locked in a game that saw wonderful starting pitching.

Sam LeCure of the Reds and Clayton Richard of the Padres were both simply masterful last night. LeCure set a career high in strikeouts (8) while allowing only 1 run and 1 hit over 6 innings. LeCure was removed for pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo in the top of the 7th inning. Although not a popular move to pull LeCure, it was the correct one as LeCure eluded to in a post game interview.

Richard did go a little longer (7.2 innings) and allowed little more than LeCure (2 runs, 5 hits), but also deserved a better fate. But the game was only beginning when the Padres came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. And the bane of the Reds fans was Nick Masset.

I don’t think this is a stretch to say that Masset is on the short list. The short list of players that would be turned away from the big party and possibly jettisoned to the end of the earth. He hasn’t exactly done anything to endear himself to the Reds faithful so far in 2011 and last night was no different. Everyone had to wait over an hour to get to bed due to Masset’s inability to get the Padres out without permitting a run. Only a stellar defensive effort by Brandon Phillips would secure such.

I’ll point back to something from my post on the day of the first game of the series. I compared the offenses. The Padres were 15th in batting with a .223 team batting average. They way Masset’s 2011 has started, only his pitches would find those Padres bats. And they did which led to a tying run, but this time Masset limited the damage.

A lot of us are aware of the fact that Masset struggled last April. 2-1 with an ERA of 11.32 and a 2.419 WHIP for 2010. After last night: 0-2, 10.80, 2.400. Silver lining?

The Reds fate seemed all but sealed as the Padres loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th. With the bases loaded and one out, Logan Ondrusek struck out Chase Headley. Ryan Ludwick stood in the batter’s box and stroked an Ondrusek offering into left field. Jonny Gomes took a quick couple of steps in, then realized he had to go back. At the last moment, Gomes would leap to snare the screamer for the final out.

As we strolled, or in the case of Reds fans here in the Midwest, slept-walked, our way to the 11th inning, the thought was could the Reds muster one run. Just one measly run. The Reds responded with 6. And they produced those 6 runs with two outs. A chronicle of that top of the 11th.:

OSU’s Cory Luebke entered as the Padres pitcher.
1. Joey Votto – fly out to left
2. Scott Rolen – fly out to center
3. Jonny Gomes – singled to right
4. Ryan Hanigan – doubled to left, scoring Gomes. Reds up 3-2
5. Jay Bruce – walk
6. Chris Heisey (pinch-hit for Ondrusek) – single to right center, Hanigan scores. Reds up 4-2
7. Edgar Renteria – single to center, Bruce scores. Reds up 5-2.
8. Drew Stubbs – home run to center. Heisey, Renteria and Stubbs score. Reds up 8-2
9. Brandon Phillips – ground out to the pitcher

Once again, Hanigan delivers a clutch hit. Reds fans are now becoming accustomed to Hanigan’s heroics. I would think that deal he signed in spring training is looking all the better.

And what about the home run Stubbs hit. If you hit a home run a distance of 400+ feet at Petco, you’ve really hit that ball. The ball simply does not carry in San Diego. To catch all the run scoring from that 11th inning, go here.

Francisco Cordero faced four in the bottom of the 11th. Non-save situation, but Cordero did look good despite walking Cameron Maybin.

For Reds fans who stayed awake, our friend Mark Sheldon on posted his recap at 3 AM. (Please, no Matchbox 20.) Like the Reds players, we hope he recovers as well.

The Reds and Padres wrap up the series today. Odd start time for Cincy fans (when isn’t it when the venture to the West Coast) with a 6:35 PM EDT start.

One last bit of info. The Reds are off tomorrow as they return home.

Then we can all catch up on our sleep.