David Holmberg Earns First Major League Victory


On a night that young David Holmberg will surely never forget, the Cincinnati Reds topped the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 en route to the rookie left-hander’s first Major League victory.

In what was a brilliant combination of offense, defense and pitching, the Redlegs had their first convincing win in quite some time. Every batter in the starting lineup but one would collect a hit (Jay Bruce), and the pitching would allow just two hits all evening long.

The Bats:

Through the front three innings, it appeared as if the Yovani Gallardo that had beaten the Reds down the last two times these teams have met, would be returning. Still looking for that elusive first win against the club in 2014, Gallardo would have no such luck on Saturday.

The floodgates seemingly opened in the fourth inning after back-to-back singles to start the frame from Brayan Pena and Todd Frazier. Brandon Phillips would pick up a RBI with a bases loaded walk, and Jay Bruce would drive in another run on a sacrifice fly.

All season long, the Milwaukee bullpen has been a major red flag for detractors of the Brewers club. Former Red Zach Duke would allow two more runs to cross the plate in the top of the seventh after Billy Hamilton cleared the bases with a two-run triple to the right centerfield gap.

The good hitting kept on beating in the top of the eighth as Devin Mesoraco drove in Todd Frazier for the clubs fifth and final run.

As was mentioned earlier, every member of the starting lineup, sans Jay Bruce, collected a hit. Were this the case more often in 2014 with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips having missed the majority of the season, a more balanced offensive effort may have correlated to a few more wins.

The Arms:

What a week it has been for David Holmberg. As recent as Monday afternoon, he was not even in the plans for the Reds rotation down the stretch, with both Dylan Axelrod and Daniel Corcino having jumped him as next in line. Once Axelrod left his start on Monday evening after just one batter, Holmberg was thrust into the deep end.

Either Holmberg was to sink, or he was to swim. At 6’3” and 225 pounds, he may not be the most dynamic swimmer, but he was definitely pumping his legs (and his left arm) on Saturday.

Escaping near disaster in the first inning after allowing the first two batters to reach, Holmberg was nearly cruising. For a pitcher that is not particularly over-powering, it is crucial to change speeds against the Milwaukee Brewers, which is what Holmberg did to a tee. His fastball had great late life on it, helping him rack up four strikeouts in his six innings of work, but his changeup was just enough of a threat to keep it in the minds of the opposition.

One of the two hits he would allow would be of the infield variety from backup shortstop Hector Gomez. Following the Johnny Cueto mentality, Holmberg served up a big fly to Aramis Ramirez, and then went right along his merry way tossing a gem.

In fact, Holmberg retired the last seven, and 9 of the last 10 batters he would face. Had his arm been stretched out further, he undoubtedly could have continued as he only needed 83 pitches to get him through six.

The combination of Sam LeCure and Jumbo Diaz was rock solid over the final nine outs, allowing just a walk in their three innings of duty. After what was a difficult Friday afternoon for Jumbo, he would polish off the contest on Saturday with a 98 MPH fastball that left Khris Davis frozen in the batter’s box, a victim of strike three to end the game.

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The first Major League win for David Holmberg came during what was one of the better games the Reds have played this entire season. All major aspects of the game came together in one night to gel for a comfortable victory.

Now, the club has a shot to take the series with a win on Sunday afternoon. The opposing starting pitcher will be a familiar foe once again, this time in the form of Matt Garza. The Redlegs will counter with Mike Leake, as the game is scheduled to get underway at 2:10 p.m. from Miller Park in Milwaukee.