April 5, 2006

Game 2: Reds 8, Cubs 6

The Reds knocked the Cubs down a peg today with a 6-8 win at Great American Ball Park.

Bronson Arroyo got the start and the win by allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits through 6.2 innings. He had seven strike outs and no walks.

The Cubs struck first when Aramis Ramirez hit a 2-run job off Arroyo in the top of the first, but the Reds responded in the bottom when Ryan Freel doubled and Rich Aurilia plated him two batters later. Score: 2-1.

The Reds tied it up on the third when Arroyo helped himself out with a home run to left field in his first at-bat as a Red. I guess that time in the AL didn't leave his hitting skills too rusty. Either that, or Chambliss is just freaking amazing. They took the lead when Freel walked and Aurilia again scored him, plus himself, with a 2-run bomb to left-center. Score 2-4.

The Reds padded the lead in the fifth when Ken Griffey Jr. led off with a line-drive homer to left-center. David Ross came up with the bases loaded and knocked in Adam Dunn on a sac fly to right field. While Freel was batting, a passed ball allowed Edwin Encarnación to come home. Score: 2-7.

The Cubs grumbled back to life in the sixth, however, when, after Ross failed to hold onto a pop-up in foul territory, Derek Lee hit a 2-run home run on the very next pitch. Score: 4-7.

After two batters in the seventh, the Reds relieved Arroyo with Kent Mercker. Unfortunately, John Mabry promptly plated Ronny Cedeño and himself on a home run to center field. Score 6-7.

After one batter in the eighth, Todd Coffey got the call and held the Cubs hitless through the rest of the inning.

The Reds got a little breathing room in the eighth when Freel bunted and caused Scott Hatteberg to be forced out at second. While Felipe Lopez was batting, Freel stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Freel scored when Lopez grounded out to short. Score 6-8.

If Freel keeps this up, opponents will start letting the lead runner advance and choosing Freel in fielder's choice situations. I guarantee that Hatteberg wouldn't have scored on that play if he'd been the one on the basepaths.

David Weathers pitched the top of the ninth and held the Cubbies scoreless to get the save and make the bottom of the inning unnecessary.

The win brings the Reds' record to 1-1. The Reds host the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow at 7:10 p.m. Brandon Claussen takes on Ian Snell for the Pirates. The Reds faced Snell in spring training way back on March 11. You might recall that Snell blamed an Edwin Encarnación home run on the wind. The Reds came out of it with the 2-1 win, for what it's worth.

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