by: Dan Howard
I have an unusual hobby. I’ve been keeping journals of Cincinnati Reds games since 1991. It started when my brother-in-law gave me a weekly planner and I got an idea to hand write the 1991 Reds schedule in it, and as they say, the rest is history. I now have a nice collection of 22 heavily used weekly planners in my archives (an old shoebox).
It seems that top 10 lists are all the rage these days. Everywhere you look there’s a top 10 list somewhere. Top 10 baseball players of today, top 10 World Series, top 10 Super Bowl games, top 10 bubble gum blowers, etc. I got sucked into the vortex of top 10 lists and I came up with my own, but with a twist (pun intended). In honor of Great American Ballpark’s 10th anniversary, I’ve come up with, in my opinion, the best 25 Reds wins since GABP opened in 2003.
The research for this list was exhausting. I examined over 800 games, narrowing the initial list to 77. From those, I chose the 25 based on the events that occurred during the games -- thrilling comebacks, great pitching performances, historical moments and the like. For this week, I’ll list games numbers 25 to 11. I hope you enjoy it.
25. June 22, 2011 – Reds 10 N.Y. Yankees 2. In game two of this doubleheader split with the Pinstripers, Chris Heisey enjoys his greatest game as a Red. Heisey goes 3 for 5 with all three of his hits home runs. Heisey also drives in half of Cincinnati’s runs.
24. August 13, 2009 – Reds 7 Washington 0. Bronson Arroyo pitches a complete game two hitter, but Jonny Gomes’ offense is the story of this game. Gomes goes 4 for 5 hammering three home runs and driving in five. It would be the only win in this 4-game series vs. Washington.
23. April 3, 2008 – Reds 3 Arizona 2. Reds rookie Johnny Cueto sets the club record for most strikeouts in a debut outing. Cueto struck out 10, allowing only a Justin Upton sixth inning leadoff home run, in seven innings pitched. The victory allowed the Reds to win the opening season series against the Diamondbacks.
22. August 27, 2010 – Reds 7 Chicago Cubs 1. Jay Bruce becomes the first Reds leadoff hitter since 1978 to hit three home runs in a single game. Bruce also had five RBI. Pete Rose previously hit three homers in a game on April 29, 1978 against the Mets at Shea Stadium.
21. May 31, 2008 – Reds 8 Atlanta 7 (10 innings). Speaking of Jay Bruce, who had made a successful debut just four days earlier, hits his first career home run, a walk off blast against Braves reliever Manny Acosta. Ken Griffey Jr. added career home run 598 in the first inning.
20. May 11, 2006 – Reds 5 Washington 4 (11 innings). The Nationals take a 4 – 2 lead after scoring two runs in the top of the 11th. Ken Griffey Jr., returns from the disabled list, and hits a dramatic three run walk off homer.
19. August 21, 2005 – Reds 13 Arizona 6. Reds pound six home runs en route to the romp. Wily Mo Pena hit two while Felipe Lopez, Austin Kearns, Sean Casey, and Edwin Encarnacion each hit one.
18. April 4, 2003 – Reds 10 Chicago Cubs 9. Barry Larkin drives in game winning run allowing Reds to gain first win at Great American Ballpark. History was also made in this game as Cubs OF Sammy Sosa hit career home run 500.
17. May 7, 2008 – Reds 9 Chicago Cubs 0. Reds set GABP record for most single game home runs: seven. Joey Votto led the way with three dingers. Reds tied club record by hitting four homers in the second inning, Votto, Adam Dunn, Paul Bako, and Jerry Hairston Jr. Brandon Phillips added a home run in the fifth inning.
16. April 2, 2008 – Reds 6 Arizona 5. Edwin Encarnacion’s dramatic walk-off three-run homer gives Reds first win of 2008, and Dusty Baker’s first win as Reds manager.
15. April 28, 2006 – Reds 5 Houston 4. Rich Aurillia, Scott Hatteberg, and Brandon Phillips collect three hits apiece to allow Reds to end 15-game losing streak against Astros ace Roy Oswalt.
14. August 9, 2006 – Reds 8 St. Louis 7. With the Reds and St. Louis battling for the lead in the NL Central, Cardinals jump to an early 4 – 0 lead after Jim Edmonds’ grand slam. The Reds, behind solo shots by Adam Dunn, Scott Hatteberg, and Edwin Encarnacion close the gap to 4 – 3 after four innings. A Scott Spiezio two run homer extends the Cardinals lead to 6 – 3. Reds tie game in sixth with a three spot. Reds shaky bullpen allows St. Louis to regain lead in top of eighth. Trailing 7 – 6 in the bottom of the ninth, and Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen pitching, Reds catcher David Ross completes unbelievable comeback win with a two-run walk-off home run.
13. May 21, 2007 – Reds 8 Washington 7. Trailing 6 – 0 going into the bottom of the second inning, Reds rally behind Scott Hatteberg’s four RBI performance. Javier Valentin caps Reds comeback win with two-run homer in Reds eighth. This win would also be the only victory in this four game series against the Nationals. (See No. 24)
12. July 17, 2005 – Reds 9 Colorado 4. Valentine’s Day in July. Switch hitter Javier Valentine becomes first Reds player since Pete Rose on August 2, 1967 to homer from both sides of the plate. Valentine’s first home run, a sixth inning grand slam, came off Rockies righty Jamey Wright. In his next at bat, in the eighth inning, Valentine hammers a three run homer off lefty Brian Fuentes.
11. April 5, 2006 – Reds 8 Chicago Cubs 6. In his first start for Cincinnati, Bronson Arroyo, with only 13 career plate appearances, surprises everyone in Great American Ballpark, and Reds fans everywhere, by hitting a home run in his first at bat for the Reds. Six days later, in Chicago, Arroyo homers again at Wrigley Field. For what it’s worth, the Reds are 6 – 0 in games Arroyo hits a home run. Arroyo, personally, is 5 – 0 with one no-decision in those six games.
Next week I’ll present the Top 10.