A day after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 9th, the Cincinnati Reds returned them the favor.Of course, having the offense show up early enough in the game to provide Johnny Cueto with his 20th win of the season would have been too easy. No, the Reds had to keep all of that scoring until the end.
Still, Cueto finished the year strong. In his final start, he went 7 innings, allowing 3 runs (1 earned), 6 hits, and 1 walk. He struck out 6. If he’d pitched a scoreless 8th or the offense had woken up before the 9th, he would’ve had the win. Heck, if the defense hadn’t screwed the pooch and allowed so many unearned runs, he would’ve gotten the win. I guess that just shows you how meaningless of a statistic wins can be.
As for that offense, they started the game off by getting on base, but not being able to knock in any runs. Both of the first two innings ended with runners in scoring position. But in the third, Joey Votto was given a pitch he could hit, and hit a double that scored Brandon Phillips. The next batter, Todd Frazier, hit a ground-out to the shortstop that scored Wilson Valdez.
After that, the Reds’ bats were silent until the 9th. Then, Xavier Paul, the very first batter against the Pirates’ closer Joel Hanrahan, hit a pinch-hit home run to right field to tie the game. And instead of being a rally killer, this got the offense going. Eventually.
The next two batters recorded out, but when Ryan Ludwick hit a pinch-hit double, I started feeling that this would turn into a win. With two outs, Zack Cozart was the hero, driving in the go-ahead run with his own double.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the bottom of the 9th for the save. He was a little shaky, but he got the job done. Hopefully, he can get an appearance or two before the playoffs start. I don’t want him rusty.
The Reds next travel to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals. If Cincinnati can sweep, there’s a chance they’d knock the Cardinals out of the playoffs. I’m hoping for that. Bronson Arroyo will go against Jaime Garcia at 8:15pm.