Game 80: Indians 8, Reds 9
For the second straight night Adam Dunn came through with the game-winning hit in the late innings to carry the Reds to a victory over the Indians, 8-9.
Elizardo Ramirez had a rough first inning. I turned on the game with two outs in the bottom of the first, and I believe my exact quote was, “Ho. Lee. Shit.” For, you see, the Indians were already up by five. Before The Lizard's five innings were through, he would allow six runs (earned) on eight hits.
Without Chris Hammond to put inexplicably into the ballgame, Jerry Narron had to resort to Jason Standridge. Standridge worked a hitless sixth.
Esteban Yan, guy I'd nearly forgotten existed, was on next. We worked two innings of one-run baseball. Kent Mercker was lucky enough to have worked immediately previous to the big rally for the win, despite the fact that he allowed a run (earned) on two hits in one inning.
Paul Byrd stymied the Reds' offense for his six innings. You may recall how he shut the Reds out just last week in Cleveland. Should the struggling Indians feel like flipping the Byrd next month, I think the Reds should pursue.
Austin Kearns came damn close to hitting one over the wall in the second inning before actually doing it in the eighth to bring in the Reds' first run. After Brandon Phillips and Javier Valentín singled, Juan Castro knocked a three-run pinch-hit home run to left field.
But it was the ninth when the real magic happened. With one out, Kearns singled and stole second while Phillips was batting, and advanced to third on Phillips base hit. A wild pitch while Javy was batting allowed Phillips to move up, and Javy's ground out to first brought in Kearns.
Ryan Freel walked and advanced to second on that stupid cop-out they call “defensive indifference.” Felipe Lopez walked to load up the bases for the last guy you want to see at the plate in that situation: Adam Dunn.
But I'll be damned if the Big Donkey didn't hit a freaking walk-off grand slam.
The win brings the Reds' record to 44-36. Add in the Cardinals' extra-innings loss to the Royals (and they didn't even have Milton pitching!) and the Reds are tied for first place in the NLC. w00t! They continue the interleague action tomorrow at 6:10 p.m. when Joe Mays takes on Cliff Lee.
Bottom of the ninth, two out, bases loaded, and Wickman, having just walked Freel and Lopez, opens with a first-pitch ball to Dunn. I thought to myself, “Good, maybe he’ll walk Dunn, walk in a run, and Griffey can come up and win this one for us.”
That’s all I was hoping for.
Then Dunn smacked Wickman’s next pitch (Wow! He threw a strike!) into the visitors’ bullpen for La Grande Salami.
I immediately thought of the previous game against the Royals, which Dunn also won with two out and with Freel and Lopez on base. And at that point it occurs to me why it’s not a bad idea at all for Narron to have Dunn batting second in the lineup.
It’s not just because Dunn gets on base a lot by drawing walks, although I’m sure that’s a factor. But with Griffey hitting behind Dunn in this lineup, they gotta pitch to Dunn. Well, they don’t have to…they can work around Dunn so they can pitch to the guy who’s already taken 353 different major league pitchers downtown (Go ahead, make our day).
And now, we’re seeing what can happen when Adam Dunn actually sees some pitches to hit. Project his current numbers across a full season, and it comes out to 50-plus homers and over 100 RBI (52 and 104 to be exact).
P.S. – What do ya’ll think of Castro now? 😀
I’m all for Castro. Let’s try him in long relief.