Sunday, June 3, 2012

Votto, Reds ground Astros in slugfest

Votto was locked in on Saturday

Saturday's clash between the Reds (30-22) and Astros (22-31) provided no shortage of fireworks as the teams combined for 21 runs and 28 hits. But in the end, only one squad emerged victorious and that squad was Dusty Baker's bunch who prevailed over host Houston by a tally of 12-9.

Neither starter fared very well in this one, thus turning the affair into a battle between bullpens. Luckily, the National League's top 'pen held their own (Cincy) and Joey Votto led the offensive surge with a 4-hit night to send the red-hot Reds to their 11th win in their past 14 games.

Here's a wrap-up of the good, the bad and the notables from Minute Maid:

The Good
- The Reds win a road series and improve their record to 13-2 in the prior 15 series' versus Houston.
- Votto had a monster game at the dish by going 4-4 with a free pass, a homer (9), three runs scored and a couple of ribbies (32). He's now hitting .345 on the season and is the proud owner of a .475 OBP. Simply amazing.
- Drew Stubbs experienced a breakout performance as well. The center fielder notched three hits including a run-scoring double (7) in the first and a 3-run shot (7) to left in the top of the second. He tallied four RBI (18) in all while scoring three runs.
- Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart each pounded a pair of hits. Both of Cozart's were doubles (15). Phillips padded his 2012 RBI total to (29) with three in this one.
- Aroldis Chapman made mincemeat of Astros hitters as he fanned the side in the ninth to secure the victory and his fifth save of the season. Yeah, his ERA for '12 is still 0.00.
- Sean Marshall and Jose Arredondo each tossed a scoreless frame of relief.
- Sam LeCure (1-1) hurled two innings of scoreless ball to earn his first victory.
- Todd Frazier and Ryan Ludwick both blasted their sixth homers of the season -- both were of the solo variety.
- Cincinnati thwarted old demons by going 6-12 with RISP -- an area they have seriously neglected up until now.
- Unlike Friday, we weren't relegated to witnessing the 'Stros wearing those bloody awful rainbow retro unis they wore in game one.

The Bad
- Mat Latos layed a proverbial egg in his 3.1 innings of work. The tall, right-hander surrendered seven hits and seven runs (only four earned) to balloon his ERA to 4.91.
- As good as Votto was at the plate tonight, he was picked off first AND caught stealing at second.
- Ryan Hanigan was the only starting position player to fail to collect a base knock (0-4, BB).
- Cozart committed his fifth miscue on the campaign.
- The fellas nearly blew an 8-2 lead, but held on to guarantee a series win.

The Notables
- The Reds stretched their division lead to 3.5 games as the Redbirds were blanked by the Mets for the second straight night.
- Quote of the night: "You know you're going to have to win games like that. Especially if you're going to go a long ways, you've got to figure out how to win them and we did." -Dusty Baker
- The contest took three hours and 47 minutes to complete before a paid audience of 22,991.
- Houston optioned INF Matt Downs to Triple-A Oklahoma and recalled SP Jordan Lyles after the game.
- The Reds and 'Stros conclude their 3-game set with a 2:05et finale on Sunday. Veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo (2-3, 3.59) aims to even up his record against Lyles (0-1, 5.73). The Redlegs enjoy an off-day on Monday back home before opening up a 6-game homestand versus the Pirates and Tigers.

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