This was one of those games that you saw coming down the pipeline as a loss. You could almost taste Roy Oswalt going to 24-1 against the Reds to further his dominance against them. And he did escape without losing. He didn’t even allow a run.
In the top of the 9th inning Jose Valverde disposed of Jay Bruce with a quick strikeout and then walked Edwin Encarnacion. With Ramon Hernandez up and Alex Gonzalez on deck, you figure it’s game over. Those two guys have been swinging toothpicks all season so far. And then Ramon Hernandez lined a fastball just over the wall in right field to give the Reds what was their biggest victory of the season thus far, and a win that could really spring them into some kind of groove.
It was just a well played ballgame. Both sides pitched well, and until Francisco Cordero entered the game in the 9th inning, the Reds had only allowed two hits all ballgame on this friday night. The only run of the game up until the Hernandez homer was a bases loaded walk from Johnny Cueto to Lance Berkman. Nick Masset has been incredibly solid for the Reds in relief all season thus far and he picked up the win. Mike Lincoln got over an inning of solid work.
The Reds exercised a real demon last night. This is just not a place they play well. Again and again they saw themselves get close (loading the bases with less than 2 outs against Oswalt early) and saw themselves shoot their own foot. Then you look up and Willy Tavares runs down two deep fly balls nearly at the slope in center. There is a lot to like about this team. They’re too foolish to ever really give up even if their ability runs short on some nights or their inexperience shows. The other thing is that they’re simply pitching pretty well most of the time. Evidenced inside this win is exactly how you wanna build a team–build a pitching staff that shuts down the opposition and get the big crucial hit to win it late. Satisfying win, Reds.
They’re going to need to ‘steal’ a few like they did last night if they’re going to surprise people.