Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reds reclaim share of first after edging out Cardinals

Chapman puts the finishing touches on a
come-from-behind win on Friday
The Reds returned to action on Friday night for the first time in nearly five days and for the first time at home since June 27th. So, naturally the Queen City faithful were anxious for their chance to cheer on their beloved Redlegs to victory. And that's exactly what they got to do in this one as Cincinnati (48-38) edged out rival St. Louis (46-41) by a tally 5-3 on a beautiful summer evening on the banks of the Ohio.

Here's a look at all the good, the bad and notables from the series opener:

The Good:
+ Brandon Phillips stole the show, offensively, as the second basemen ripped three of the team's seven hits in his four at-bats. One of those knocks was his 14th double of the year. He also scored two runs.
+ Todd Frazier blasted his 10th homer of 2012 (solo in 5th), drew a walk, and scored a pair of runs as well.
+ Ryan Ludwick delivered a run-scoring triple (1) in the bottom of the eighth to help extend the lead at the time to 5-3. He did so on his 34th birthday today.
+ The bullpen combined to toss four innings of one-run ball to help preserve the win. Alfredo Simon hurled two scoreless frames himself to lower his ERA to 1.67. What a steal this guy has turned out to be.
+ Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth to nail down his 12th save. A whopping 12 of his 15 pitches went for strikes.
+ A win over the Redbirds always feels good.

The Bad:
+ Mat Latos certainly wasn't awful, but he wasn't at his best either. The tall right-hander lasted just five innings after succumbing to a rather high pitch count of 97. He scattered four hits, two runs, three walks and fanned five in what was his shortest outing in nearly a month.
+ The top three hitters in the order were a collective 0-11. Drew Stubbs accounted for four of those empty trips to the dish and is now batting a dismal .212 on the campaign. It seems the All-Star Break did little to help the Texas native get back on track.
+ The Reds looked a little rusty on defense at times as Cozart made a couple of mental mistakes and Phillips botched the turn on a potential double play ball that led to a run in the eighth.
+ Cincy was 1-6 with RISP.

The Notables:
+ A soldout crowd of 40,217 showed up to watch the Reds take down the Cards.
+ STL still leads the season series 4-3.
+ The Brewers defeated the Pirates, 10-7, to allow the Reds to reclaim a share of first place.
+ Quote of the night: "It was like Opening Day. It probably should be like that the rest of the year. People are excited. I hope they stay that way until the end." -Dusty Baker on the lively GABP crowd
+ Up next: The bitter rivals partake in round two of the 3-game set with a nationally televised event on FOX beginning at 4:05et on Saturday. Mike Leake (3-6, 4.01) gets the ball for Baker's squad to counter former Red Kyle Lohse (9-2, 2.79).
+ The first 20,000 fans through the gates receive a free Reds Lawn Flag, courtesy of Queen City Sausage. So, get there early!

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