Friday, August 3, 2012

Latos does it all as Reds blank Buccos

After going 13 games without playing a team with a winning record, the Redlegs (65-41) played host to one on Friday in the likes of the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates (60-45). The Reds entered the weekend series 3.5 games up on the Buccos and looked to put some seperation between themselves and the upstarts from The Steel City.

Well, thanks to a huge night by Mat Latos, the Reds did just that. The tall right-hander was instrumental in securing a 3-0 victory and thus, increased Cincy's division lead to 4.5 games.

Chris Heisey got the home team on the board in the bottom of the second on a inside-the-park home run, his fourth of the campaign. Latos would later add to the lead after he uncorked his first career homer off Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez (7-10), a 2-run shot. That proved to be more than enough as Dusty Baker's club surged to their 21st win in their past 24th game.

Here's a recap of all the good, the bad, and the notables from the series opener:

The Good:
+ Latos (10-3) simply did it all for his team in this one. He delivered 7.1 scoreless innings of 4-hit ball and struck out five. And as mentioned above, he helped his cause by smacking his first career homer. Well done, Mat.
+ Zack Cozart set the table with three hits out of the leadoff slot. He was stranded all three times, but at least he was on base for the run producers.
+ Speaking of Cozart, the rookie helped turn three double plays. That's helping out your pitcher.
+ Jonathan Broxton relieved Latos in the eighth and promptly recorded the last two outs to pick up the hold. All five of his pitches were thrown for strikes.
+ Aroldis Chapman did his thing and pitched a perfect ninth to record his 24th save. The guy is simply unhittable.
+ GABP was rocking as the game was SOLD OUT! That's the tenth time that's happened in 2012.

The Bad:
- The offense as a whole failed to draw a single walk. Patience is a virtue and the Reds weren't very patient tonight.
- The heart of the order (3-5) combined to go 0-10. That included an 0-4 night from Ryan Ludwick, who also went down on strikes twice. Not good, BROTHER!
- Hot chocolate sales are really slumping right now. This weather is a buzzkill.

The Notables:
+ The affair took just two hours and 28 minutes to complete. 40,829 fans took it in.
+ The Reds have now won 14 of 15 and are 15-3 w/o Votto. They're 5-5 vs PIT on the year.
+ After the game, Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman had his head shaved on the field in honor of the Reds' recent 10-game winning streak. A fireworks show presented by Rozzi's was also held in celebration of his 70th birthday after the game.
+ Up next: Mike Leake (4-7, 4.44) takes the hill on Saturday for game two of the series opposite of Pittsburgh's James McDonald (10-5, 3.38). McDonald has enjoyed notable success against the Redlegs in his career (10g, 5-1, 2.31 ERA), so the home team will have their work cut out for them. The first pitch is scheduled to get underway at 7:10et.
+ The first 25,000 fans through the gates will receive a Johnny Cueto Bobblehead on Saturday. But you better get there early because the game has already been announced as a sell-out -- the tenth at GABP in 2012.

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