Offensive Explosion Fuels Cincinnati Reds


Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Carried to victory by a late offensive explosion, the Cincinnati Reds picked up a convincing series victory over the Milwaukee Brewers with a 13-4 drubbing on Father’s Day.

Through the front seven innings, the game was as hotly contested as the first two that took place over the weekend. Leading 5-4 through seven, the Redlegs bats suddenly came alive for eight runs combined in the eighth and ninth, blowing the door wide open.

This offensive explosion may have had an omen. Leading off the game, Billy Hamilton connected with his second straight home run in as many at-bats to give the Reds a 1-0 lead right from the start.

Before Brewers starter Marco Estrada could escape the first, Brandon Phillips also connected with a thunderous shot that rattled around in the Milwaukee bullpen just beyond the left centerfield fence.

Not used to pitching with much of a lead at any point, Mike Leake took to the hill.

Similarly to how many outings have gone for Reds pitchers thus far in 2014, Leake was strong early on, showing no signs of slowing. Then, out of seemingly nowhere, the wheels came flying off.

Were it not for an outstanding catch-and-throw double play from Jay Bruce in the depths of right field, the inning may have gotten extremely out of hand. As it was, Leake still gave up five hits and three runs, with every single batter in the inning pounding the ball somewhere hard—including the opposing pitcher.

Answering back immediately, Todd Frazier did not even give Hamilton time to steal second, as he clubbed a frozen rope out of the park on a straight line to nearly the same spot Phillips had earlier. After having been neutralized by Estrada since the first inning, Frazier broke the Reds’ silence, putting them back ahead 5-3.

Kept in the game primarily in an attempt to allow him to pick up the win, Leake did not magically rebound in the fifth. In fact, the first batter of the inning, Jonathan Lucroy, hammered a home run right back out through center field beyond the leaping grasp of Billy Hamilton. Similarly to the fourth, any out that was recorded was hit well, with Leake fooling no one.

Trudging on into the late innings of the game, Manny Parra and Sam LeCure combined to shut down Milwaukee in the sixth and seventh innings, ready to turn the game over to the New Age Nasty Boys in Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman. Then, the bats came to life.

Six consecutive singles later, and the Redlegs were in business. Rob Wooten of the Brewers was the unfortunate victim of each single, facing six batters the entire game, just to watch each one of them lace a base hit to a different quadrant of the diamond. The ones of run-scoring variety came from Devin Mesoraco, Skip Schumaker and Billy Hamilton.

Doing an exemplary job of tacking on additional runs, both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips pushed across a run each for a five-run inning that allowed both Broxton and Chapman to sit back and enjoy the show.

Even though he would not drive in a run on an afternoon where the club pushed across 13 runs, Ryan Ludwick had himself quite the day. Going 4-for-5 with three well-struck doubles, the only out he recorded came on a long, loud fly ball to centerfield that the wind may have knocked down.

The key RBI men behind the victory were the two men who could potentially be representing the Reds at the Mid-Summer Classic on offense in Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier. Both drilled two-run home runs, with Phillips going 2-for-4 with three RBI and Frazier 2-for-6 with four RBI.

The 13 runs and 19 hits were highs on the season for a club that has consistently struggled swinging the bats. While these are unsustainable numbers, fans can hope that Sunday afternoon awoke something deep in the belly of the Reds offense and that this performance showed that these type of days are possible.

On the season, the Reds now boast a 5-2 record against the front-running Brewers. Even though the club sits at two games below .500, they are now completely healthy and only seven games out of first place.

Taking Monday off as a travel day, the Redlegs head over to Pittsburgh for a three-game tilt with the club directly in front of them.

With both Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole on the disabled list, the starters the Reds will be facing are much different from the normal cast of characters.

Much in the way that picking up the win on Friday night against Milwaukee was crucial, with Johnny Cueto squaring off against Brandon Cumpton on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., the Redlegs will have to take that opener in which they will be heavily favored.