After two games in the series between the division leading Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants, the Reds have been outscored 6-5. But thanks to not scoring at all during the first game and saving those runs for the second, the series is tied and the Reds have a chance at the series win today.
From looking at the pitching match-up beforehand, it wasn’t the outcome I expected. Matt Cain, he of the recent perfect game and with an ERA in the 2s, against Mike Leake, who struggled at the beginning of the season but has made signs of improvement lately.
Instead of another shutout for the Giants–it would’ve been a 5th straight–the Reds jumped on Cain early. As-early -as-you-can early. Zach Cozart lead off the game with a solo shot, and before the inning was over the Reds added two more, giving Leake a 3-0 lead before setting foot on the mound.
Mike Leake was excellent with that lead. It took 111 pitches, but he accomplished his first complete game. And if it weren’t for a mistake pitch to Pablo Sandoval in the bottom of the 9th–Sandoval kindly deposited that into the right field seats–Leake would have had his first shut-out, too.
In his 9 innings, Leake allowed 1 run, 9 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 4. Oh, and he joined Pete Harnisch in becoming just the second Reds pitcher to pitch a complete game and hit a home run in the same game. It was Leake’s second home run on the season.
Clearly, Leake was the primary Reds’ star of the game. But Joey Votto and Jay Bruce showed some excellence, too. Votto went 3-5, with his 33rd double, and scored a run, while Bruce may just be getting on another of his patented streaks again. He went 4-4 and drove in 3 runs. Maybe that will make Thom Brennaman swallow some of his disgust for Bruce for a while.
The two teams finish the series this afternoon at 4:05pm EDT. Mat Latos goes to the mound for the Reds, with everyone hoping that his excellent outing last time was a sign that he’s settled down and will start pitching the way he knows how. The Giants will counter with Barry Zito.