Saturday, June 9, 2012

Redlegs put the squeeze on Tigers, walkoff with a victory

All is well that ends well

It may have taken an extra inning and a bit of drama to do so, but the Redlegs (32-25) succeeded in upending the visiting Tigers (26-32) by a score of 6-5 in ten innings on Friday.

Miguel Cairo led off the home half of the tenth with a batted ball that rattled around in the right field corner, thus helping the utilityman reach third base via triple. After Ryan Hanigan failed to get him in with a routine groundout, pinch-hitter Wilson Valdez stepped up to the dish with one thing in mind -- getting the winning run home. And that he did as he laid a picture-perfect bunt as part of a safety squeeze to help Dusty Baker's bunch walk-off with the victory.

The game marked the first meeting between the two clubs in Cincinnati since 2001 when they traded blows at the now non-existent Cinergy Field (formerly Riverfront Stadium).

Here's the good, the bad, and the notables from the interleague brawl:

The Good:
- Joey Votto is a hitting machine (in case you weren't already aware). The Canadian slugger collected three hits, including both his 25th double of the season and his 10th dinger of the season -- the latter of which was a 3-run shot in the bottom of the third. His current batting average stands at .360
- Zack Cozart, Chris Heisey and Cairo each collected a pair of base knocks. Both Cairo and Cozart also scored a couple of runs and drew a walk. The 37-year old Cairo really proved his worth tonight. Heisey made two outstanding catches in the field that shouldn't go unnoticed either.
- Cincy outhit the visitors, 15-9.
- Sam "La Stache" LeCure picked up the win (2-1) after tossing two scoreless innings in relief while fanning three.
- Every starter including Mat Latos notched at least one hit in the offensive onslaught.
- Cincinnati remains in first place for another day.
- Todd Frazier is the Babe Ruth of pinch-hitting. He came through in the clutch AGAIN by delivering an RBI double that tied the game at five in the eighth. I like this Frazier guy, I like him a lot.

The Bad:
- The guys in Red left a whopping 11 men on base.
- Hanigan was charged with his third error in 2012 (throwing).
- Latos delivered a so-so performance (6.1 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 BB), but he did obviously pitched well enough to keep his team in the game. However, he's yet to establish himself as the clearcut no. 2 starter in the Reds rotation.
- Prince Fielder had himself a rough night. Not only did he go 0-4 at the plate, but the left-handed bopper pulled into Skyline Chili in hopes of drowning the pain with a couple of 3-ways. Unfortunately, the place had just locked up for the evening. That's what extra innings will do for ya.

The Notables:
- A packed house of 38,563 witnessed the 3-hour, 21-minute affair on a warm night on the banks of the Ohio.
- The Reds are now 8-8 all-time versus DET.
- Quote of the night: "He was looking at me and I was like, 'Here we go,'" Cairo said. "I was expecting it. I know he likes to do it. It was a perfect bunt." -Cairo on the game-winning play
- Nick Masset continues to show signs of improvement in his rehab. The right-handed reliever has been sidelined all season due to shoulder soreness. He's been throwing from the wind-up the past few days, but still needs to get back on the mound, throw to live hitters and go on a minor league rehab assignment before he returns completely. The timetable for his return is still unknown.
- Up next: The Reds get a crack at the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner on Saturday as Justin Verlander (5-4, 2.67) takes the mound for Detroit. The much softer-throwing Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 3.91) will oppose him. First pitch is slated for 4:10et.
- The first 20,000 fans through the gates Saturday will receive a Reds Grilling Set, courtesy of John Morrell (meat not included). But you better get there early, because the game is officially sold out (4th GABP sellout of 2012).

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