March 30, 2006

ST Game 30: Reds 7, Devil Rays 6

The Reds outlasted the St. Petersburg Devil Rays of Tampa to win yesterday by a score of 6-7.

Projected Opening Day starter Aaron Harang allowed five runs on ten hits through five innings of work. According to SmartElf, Harang was in fact pitching through flu-like symptoms, so those numbers really aren't so bad, especially when you know that reliever Matt Belisle actually allowed two of those runners to score.

The scoring didn't start until the bottom of the third inning when, with two outs, Felipe Lopez singled to left field and then went on to steal second while Ken Griffey, Jr. was batting. Griffey knocked him in with a double to left field. Adam Dunn then brought Griffey and himself home with a home run to left center to make the score 0-3. Austin Kearns struck out to end the threat.

The scoring started getting crazy in the bottom of the fourth. Scott Hatteberg singled to the shortstop and moved to second when Rich Aurilia walked. Javier Valentín sent a catchable ball to left field, where it was caught. Ryan Freel sent a not-so-catchable bat into the stands behind third base, where it didn't appear to hurt anyone at least (unlike a foul that later smacked someone in the face causing the ushers to wave their hats in the air for medical assistance). Freel went on to single to right center and load the bases.

That's when Tony Womack got one past the shorstop, Lopez singled to left field, and Griffey brought two in with a single to deep center. That made the score 0-7, which was all the scoring the Reds would need. Which is fortunate, because it's also all the scoring they would do.

The Devil Rays would come back to do a little scorimg of their own in the top of the fifth when Jorge Cantu knocked in Carl Crawford with a double to left center. That made the score 1-7.

Their big inning came in the top of the sixth when Johnny Gomes immediately hit a home run to left center field. Greg Norton doubled down the right field line and Travis Lee hit a double off the left field wall to make the score 3-7. Harang hit Toby Hall with a pitch and doubled over as he did it. He then left the game. At the time it wasn't clear whether he'd somehow hurt himself on the pitch or whether he was just physically disguested with his performance, but now that I know he was suffering flu-like symptoms, it's probably safe to assume that he was on the edge of spewing right there on the mound. I bet the World Famous Ed Smith Grounds Crew wouldn't have liked that at all.

So with runners on first and second, Matt Belisle entered the game and handed a bit fat three-run home run over to Ty Wigginton. Thankfully, Norris Hopper caught the next fly ball at the ground in center field to start the series of three consecutive retired batters. The score was 6-7.

ST Game 30: Reds 7, Devil Rays 6Three Reds struck out in the bottom of the sixth, and not much else interesting happened for the rest of the game until the top of the ninth when Todd Coffey took the mound. Nick Green reached first when he swung at a wild pitch and Javy couldn't get it under control. Green should have advanced to second when Javy overthrew first, but he didn't and all the happier for the Reds. Shaun Cumberland singled to right field and moved the runner to third. Brent Butler bunted and the ball bounced high. Valentín caught it on the bounce and made a Mr. Fantastic-type stretch to tag out Green before he could touch the plate. Michael Coleman was kind enough to ground into a double play and end the suspense.

On a personal note, in the parking lot after the game, I heard perhaps the funniest thing ever spoken in the general vicinity of Ed Smith stadium. A group of midle-aged adults was climbing into a mini-van. The first woman opens the sliding door, sticks her head in, pops back and and says:

“Smells like…(dramatic, drawn-out puase) calzones!”

I'm glad she said “calzones.”

The win brought the Reds' spring training record to 19-11. They visited the Red Sox today and if the brief recap I saw on ESPN after the Phillies' game I actually attended this afternoon is to be believed, it looks like Bronson Arroyo had the start today against his old theam that Harang was supposed to have yesterday. Good for the new guy.

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