Into the Redsverse: Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto avoids injury in NLDS

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 06: Manager Duster Baker #12 of the Cincinnati Reds talks to Johnny Cueto #47 of the Cincinnati Reds on the mound in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game One of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park on October 6, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 06: Manager Duster Baker #12 of the Cincinnati Reds talks to Johnny Cueto #47 of the Cincinnati Reds on the mound in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game One of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park on October 6, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 31: Dusty Baker #12 of the Cincinnati Reds talks with winning pitcher Johnny Cueto #47 (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Reds face Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series

The Cincinnati Reds returned to the World Series for the first time since 1990. Their opponent was the Detroit Tigers. Thanks to the National League winning the 2012 All-Star Game, Cincinnati had home-field advantage for the Fall Classic.

Game 1 opened at Great American Ballpark with Mat Latos pitching for against Justin Verlander for the Tigers. Omar Infante got the Tigers offense going in the first with a one-out triple. He then scored on a wild pitch. Miguel Cabrera followed with a solo home run.

The Reds offense didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning when shortstop Zack Cozart reached base on an infield hit that sparked the offense. Joey Votto hit a double, then Jay Bruce hit his second home run of the playoffs to give Cincinnati a 3-2 lead. Those were all the runs the Reds needed as they won Game 1 by a score of 3-2.

Arroyo pitched Game 2, and had another short outing, giving up three runs in four innings. The Reds bullpen showed their dominance by holding the Tigers to only two hits for the remaining five innings. With the Reds up 4-3 in the 9th inning, Aroldis Chapman struck out the side to notch his first save of the World Series. Cincinnati took a 2-0 series lead.

The World Series headed to Comerica Park for Game 3. The Reds decided again to give Cueto an extra day of rest, so Homer Bailey started. Todd Frazier got the start at third base with Scott Rolen nursing a sore wrist. Frazier capitalized on his opportunity.

With the bases loaded in the fifth inning and Cincinnati trailing 2-0, Frazier crushed a grand slam off Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer. Joey Votto gave the Reds extra cushion with a two-out RBI double in the eighth inning. The Reds won the game 6-1, moving one win away from claiming the World Series championship.

Game 4 featured an epic pitching matchup, Johnny Cueto versus Justin Verlander. Both pitchers made it into the 9th inning. Cueto had recorded 11 strikeouts and given up no runs on just two hits. Verlander was just as good, striking out 9, and giving up no runs on 3 hits. Cueto made it through his half of the 9th, it was now up to Verlander.

With no outs in the bottom of the 9th, Scott Rolen pinch hit for Ryan Hannigan and smacked a double off the wall. Drew Stubbs came to the plate and hit a single, moving Rolen to third base. Chris Heisey came in to pinch run for Rolen. Surprisingly, Dusty Baker decided not to pinch-hit for Cueto, who came to the plate with the winning run 90 feet away.

On the first pitch, Cueto squared around to bunt as Heisey took off from third base. Cueto laid down a perfect bunt along the first baseline. Charging toward home plate, Prince Fielder quickly picked up the ball and flipped it to catcher Alix Avila. Heisey slid just under the tag and was safe. The Reds won the game and were World Series Champions.

Next. What if the 1994 strike was averted?

Johnny Cueto was named World Series MVP. He became only the seventh player in MLB history to win the MVP in the league championship series and the World Series in the same year. The Reds now had their sixth world title in team history. A title that happened because Johnny Cueto stayed healthy.

You’ve now experienced… the Redsverse.