The Cincinnati Reds spent much of the first half of 2014 lumbering along with a mediocre record and providing little in the way of excitement on a game-to-game basis. As they enter the second half, though, the Reds have shown a recent propensity for dramatic scoring bursts, and on Sunday, they used their latest outbreak to down the San Francisco Giants 4-0, completing a four-game sweep in the Bay.
As has become the norm, both teams lulled fans to sleep through eight innings of one-run ball, that single tally belonging to Cincinnati in the third. In the top of the ninth, though, the Reds unleashed a flurry of small-ball tactics: single, balk, hit-by-pitch, sacrifice, infield singles. It was exciting and, more importantly, it gave Homer Bailey another three runs to work with and kept the starter on the mound to wrap up a complete game.
Bailey went one better by tossing a three-hit, one-walk shutout that also afforded closer Aroldis Chapman some much needed rest. With the St. Louis Cardinals losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the series sweep left the Reds in a dead-heat with the Cards as Cincy heads into their second-half schedule. Next up for the Reds is a three-game set at San Diego, which means the suddenly revived offense will face a steep challenge in keeping the motor running.