June 23, 2010

Reds 3, A’s 0: Getting the Road Trip to .500 the Hard Way

Reds (40-33)200000010390
Athletics (34-40)000000000071
W: Cueto (7-2) L: Mazzaro (2-2) S: Cordero (19)


When the Cincinnati Reds were at the halfway point of their Interleague West Coast trip, things weren’t looking good. They’d just been swept at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, one of the worst teams in the league. They moved to Oakland, feeling down, with visions of previous years of West Coast collapses dancing in their heads.

And then Cincinnati showed something that us Reds fans aren’t really used to: resilience. Behind solid pitching and a re-awoken offense, they finished the sweep of Oakland today. It reminds me of another sweep 20 years ago.

The Reds took the early lead in the very first frame. With 2 outs, Joey Votto walked. A single by Brandon Phillips and a hit-by-pitch by Jonny Gomes later, and Jay Bruce stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Bruce came through, singling to right and driving in 2, and the Reds never lost the lead.

Johnny Cueto started and shutout the A’s over his 7 innings of work. He allowed 7 hits and 2 walks, but managed to get out of his jams unscathed. He was more pitch-efficient, too, throwing only 102 pitches. All that was good enough for his 7th win and it got his ERA below 4 for the first time in a while.

Francisco Cordero came on in the 9th for his 19th save. And this time, he did it drama-free. I guess the third time was the charm.

For now, the West Coast crisis has been averted. The Reds return home feeling much more positive about themselves, having managed to go .500 during the long trip from home and return just 1 game back of the Cardinals.

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