Friday, September 7, 2012

Astros stage late rally off Chapman to upend Redlegs

The unthinkable happened Friday night at Great American Ball Park as the Reds (83-56) fell to the lowly Astros by a score of 5-3. The Astros (43-95) actually managed to win a game (on the road at that) and Aroldis Chapman (5-5) failed to convert a save attempt for the first time in his last 28 tries.

Houston rookie Matt Dominguez sent the home crowd away unhappy after he delivered a 3-run homer off Chapman in the top of the ninth. The Reds have now lost three of four on the homestand.

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

The Good:
+ Cincy led for most of the way and out-hit the visitors, 10-9.
+ Chris Heisey got the start in center field and proceeded to go 3-5 with a triple (5) and two runs scored. He's hitting .294/.330/.441 on the campaign.
+ Brandon Phillips notched a couple of hits and scored a run out of the leadoff spot.
+ Joey Votto was hitless in four plate appearances, but did manage to draw three base on balls.
+ Ryan Ludwick accounted for two of the team's three RBI to raise his total on the year to 74.
+ Homer Bailey came into the game undefeated in his career against the Astros and remains that way after tonight. He pitched well enough to win (6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 9 K) but it just wasn't in the cards tonight as the bullpen let him down.

The Bad:
+ Chapman showed he's not invincible. His Cy Young candidacy may have also taken a hit from his naysayers after allowing three runs and four hits in one inning of work.
+ Wilson Valdez continues to be a black hole in the lineup when he's in it. He went 0-3 to lower his average to .192 in 2012.
+ The Reds made two errors. Bailey was charged with a throwing miscues (3) while Todd Frazier was pegged with one as well (7).
+ It's a loss to the Astros. Need I say more?

The Notables:
+ CIN still leads the season series, 9-4.
+ All-Star second basemen Jose Altuve left the game in the third due to an abdominal strain.
+ Injured reliever Bill Bray is done for the year, the Reds announced Friday night. He was battling groin, back and knee ailments that have sidelined him for much of the season.
+ Zack Cozart and Scott Rolen have been out of the lineup lately because of sore backs. The decision not to play them is mostly precautionary.
+ Cincinnati still boasts the largest division lead of any team in baseball (8.0 games).
+ The 'Stros and Reds do battle once more on Saturday beginning at 7:10et. Bronson Arroyo (11-7, 3.76) toes the rubber for the home team opposite of Houston's Bud Norris (5-11, 4.80).
+ The first 20,000 fans through the gates Saturday receive a free 2012 team photo. So, get there early to ensure yours.

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