The Cincinnati Reds dozed a path directly to the top of the National League Central Division. Going into the weekend series with St. Louis they trailed the Cards by 1 ½ games. After sweeping their rivals the Reds found themselves atop the division by the same game and a half.
The series with the Cards was a masterpiece to Reds fans. Cards’ skipper, Tony LaRussa did not make the trip due to illness. I would imagine that he was orchestrating the Cardinals from afar. The Reds had their hitting shoes on over the weekend, as they amassed 13 H on Friday, 12 on Saturday, and 11 on Sunday.
In the opener the Cards were on top 4-0 until the Reds put up a 2-spot in the sixth inning. Two doubles sandwiched by a single chased ex-Red Kyle Lohse after the inning. Lohse was working on a two-hit shutout until the wheels fell off in the sixth.
Reds’ starter Bronson Arroyo pitched his sixth quality game in eight starts this season. He pitched six innings allowing 6 H and 3 ER. Joey Votto singled in the winning run in the 10th inning as the Reds won 6-5, their fourth extra inning game without a loss. Closer Coco Cordero, 3-1 picked up the win while Jason Motte, 1-1 was saddled with the loss.
Jonny Cueto, 2-0, making only his second start of the season, held the Cards in check by giving up just 3 H and 0 ER in 7.2 innings. The Reds took over possession of 1st place by roughing up Cardinals’ pitching 7-3. They were paced by catcher
Ramon Hernandez with a pair of homers, and one by Brandon Phillips. Drew Stubbs and Hernandez each had a 3-hit game.
The Reds finally gave nemesis Chris Carpenter, 1-3, a beating as they defeated the Cardinal ace for the first time since 2006. It was also the first sweep the Reds had over their division foes since 2007. The Reds were administering a solid whipping to the Cards behind the pitching of lefty Travis Wood, 3-3.
Hernandez hit his third round-tripper of the series and Chris Heisey hit his 5th PH HR in two years as the Reds took the series finale 9-7. The final score made the game look closer because of the ninth inning performance of reliever Aroldis Chapman. The Cuban southpaw had been experiencing control problems and this game looked like it was in the win column at 9-2. However he faced five batters and issued free passes to four of them, including a walk-in run. He threw 23 pitches and only five of them were strikes.
Nick Masset attempted to put out the fire but he only faced one batter before manager Dusty Baker came with the hook. Cordero came in with two on, two out and Lance Berkman at the plate, with the score now 9-7. In a nail-biting finish Berkman swung and missed a 2-2 pitch and the crowd went wild. Some of the Cards were taunting Cordero as he walked off the field because he had hit Albert Pujols in the hand earlier that inning.
- Hernandez was 6-9 with 3 HR, a double and 3 RBI.
- Scott Rolen who was activated prior to the series, was 7-11 with a double and a triple, and 2 RBI.
- Carpenter gave up 7 ER in 6+ innings.
- I proved prophetic as Mike Leake was sent to Louisville to make way for Jose Arredondo
- Wood has now pitched 6 quality starts in 9 games
About the Author
Written by Cliff Eastham
I am an avid sports fan, especially MLB and boxing. I also like NCAA Basketball and MMA. Baseball is my passion. I love the Cincinnati Reds and will argue with anyone about them. :-) I have been following them for over 50 years (yes my Social Security # is 2.) I live in West Virginia with my lovely wife Debbie and my equally lovely youngest daughter Holly. We have two other daughters and two sons, one grandson, and three granddaughters.