CINCINNATI – Aroldis Chapman made it suspenseful, but in the end, #54 got the job done.
Retiring three of the final four batters in the top of ninth inning, Chapman in relief earned his fourth save of the 2014 season over a hungry St. Louis Cardinals ball club. The 5-3 victory comes at a very critical juncture for Cincinnati. Starting off a crucial series with a gargantuan win is exactly the spark this Reds team has been searching for.
A third-inning blast by Todd Frazier got the Reds on the board first in the series, taking a 3-0 lead in its first game.
“You gotta get runs early, you gotta get runs often. As you can see, [the Cardinals] can come back in a heartbeat.” Frazier would say after the game.
And the Cardinals did everything they could to come back. St. Louis was able to create two runs off of an Allen Craig single in the 4th that scored Matt Holiday and Kolten Wong. After that, Homer Bailey was able to calm down and ended up only sacrificing one run after Craig earned his 21st and 22nd RBI of the 2014 campaign.
It would be hard to argue that Bailey didn’t hold his own tonight. After a disastrous outing that saw Bailey give up six earned runs in one inning against Philadelphia, tonight’s 3 ERs in six innings against St. Louis is a step in the right direction. Bailey combined with Manny Parra, Jonathon Broxton and the aforementioned Chapman to strand six St. Louis runners on base throughout the game, and the Cuban Missle did his best to keep the damage to a minimum. While at no point in the game did Bailey look like a flamethrowing pitcher, he did have the necessary game-managing qualities to finish the job and earn his fourth win of the season. Think of football’s Alex Smith or Joe Flacco, not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
His pick-off of Jhonny Peralta at second base to end the sixth inning was an absolutely incredible exclamation point to his performance though.
Devin Mesoraco slammed his fifth home-run this season off of Shelby Miller of the Cardinals in the bottom of the 4th, and ended the game with his batting average over .400 (at .406).
Jay Bruce returned to the line-up and smacked a double in his return.
Billy Hamilton snagged two bags in the game as well, neither of which drew a throw. The 2 SBs bring Billy’s total to 18 on the season.
Brayan Pena also stood out in the win with an impressive diving grab from first base, two hits and a sacrifice fly. He certainly seems to be earning his playing time with the Reds, at least until Votto returns from the DL.
37,271 were in attendance (88% capacity according to espn.com) on Friday night.
Saturday’s game will pit Tony Cingrani (2-3, 3.76 ERA) against Jaime Garcia (0-0, 5.14 ERA), who has earned his second start of the season following surgery on a torn labrum and rotator cuff. Game-time is 7:15 pm. Garcia is 9-2 against the Reds, he has more wins against Cincinnati than any other team in his career.
Radio: 700 WLW