Sunday, May 20, 2012

Aces wild! Cueto bests Sabathia, Yankees in series finale

Things didn't look good for Dusty Baker's club after dropping the series opener, 6-0, on Friday. But thanks to quality pitching and timely hitting the Reds (21-19) managed to roar back and take the series after edging the host Yankees (21-20), 5-2, on Sunday. Johnny Cueto outdueled fellow ace C.C. Sabathia to improve to 5-1 on the year, and helped secure the Reds a winning road trip (4-3).

The game also ends a run of two straight series' (five games) against teams from The Big Apple -- a feat that had never been done in MLB history until now.

Here's the good, the bad and the notables from Sunday's matinee at Yankee Stadium:

The Good:
- The Reds manage to take two out of three despite being shutout in an ugly-looking showing on Friday.
- Cueto bounced back from a poor start last time out to hurl seven innings of eight-hit, two-run ball. His lone mistake was serving up a two-run bomb to Raul Ibanez (9) in the sixth. He struckout five and walked only two while lowering his season ERA to 1.97.
- Ryan Ludwick had himself a game from the DH slot. The 34-year old was 3-5 with a double (4), a homer (4), and three RBI (15).
- Ryan Hanigan picked up his first homer of the year in the seventh (solO). He chipped in a single and a base on balls as well.
- Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and subsequently nailed the door shut on the Pinstripes for his first save. His ERA in 2012 still stands at an unblemished 0.00.
- Logan Ondrusek and Sean Marshall tag-teamed to pitch a scoreless eighth. They needed just six pitches between them to do so.
- The Redlegs return home to Cincinnati where the cost of a meal is considerably less than the place they've been.

The Bad:
- The lead-off spot continues to be a black hole for the Reds. Chris Heisey didn't help the cause with his 0-5 showing at the dish (two Ks).
- Besides Heisey, Joey Votto was the only other starter not to record a hit. He was hitless in five plate appearances, but did manage to draw a couple of walks.
- Wilson Valdez came in the game in the ninth as part of a defensive substitution. Naturally, he committed a throwing error in his only chance to make a play.
- Cincinnati hitters were just 1-10 with RISP and left a whopping 11 runners stranded on base.

The Notables:
- The Reds now hold the all-time Interleague series record over NYY, 7-5.
- A large crowd of 45,622 turned out to see the contest under sunny skies and 72-degree conditions. The game took three hours and thirteen minutes to play.
- Baker followed through on his word to use Chapman as the least for today. Baker told reporters after the game that the closer role will be a "bullpen-by-committee" until further notice.
- Up next: Cincy returns home to GABP for a 7-game homestand that begins with a 4-game set against the Atlanta Braves. Mike Leake (0-5, 6.21) tries for his first win of the year in the series opener on Monday opposite of Atlanta's Mike Minor (2-3, 7.09). First pitch is slated for 7:10pm. The game will air on ESPN as well as FS Ohio.

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