The Reds are playing like a first-place team, like a team that expects to win. When I saw that Homer Bailey gave up two runs in the first inning including a bomb to Ryan Braun, I thought that he’d quickly fold like a lawn chair and it would be the beginning of a long (or short) day depending how you look at it–following up his first career shutout with more disappointment.
Again, Bailey showed the competitive edge that I believe could make him great. If he didn’t have his best stuff he did a great job of pretending to after the first inning, in which he surrendered no runs and one hit on two walks for the next six innings of play. He threw 110 pitches on the day and although the Reds would allow two more runs, the drama was saved for the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Reds waited until their final inning but not their final at-bat. Thank God for Trevor Hoffman huh? Paul Janish singled to lead off the last half of the 9th, and Scott Rolen pinch hit in the 9-spot in the batting order. Rolen homered, tying the game at 4. Chris Heisey doubled, and Brandon Phillips walked attempting to bunt Heisey over, a sign that Trevor Hoffman was really struggling.
Joey Votto (who also hit a 460-foot home run on top of the boat deck earlier to make the game 4-2) singled off the base of the wall in right field to win the game for the Reds, their fourth win in a row and keep them alone in first place.
These guys never quit. Things aren’t going to stay like this forever, they won’t win 9 out of 10 often; in fact this might be the first time since this blog has been in existence that it’s happened; but for now you just enjoy the ride and know you’ve got a shot every night with these guys throwing the ball the way they have been. And playing defense the way they have been. And having someone who gets big hits every night the way they have been.
And don’t look now but Jay Bruce is hitting .280 on the season (two more hits yesterday). On to Atlanta to face another team that has been pretty hot. The Reds will face Kenshin Kawakami and Tomy Hanson, a couple of righties.