I knew trailing 6-5 in the 9th, that if the Reds could get Joey Votto to the plate that they would win the ballgame.
All that needed to happen was Chris Heisey reaching base. By the way I had seen Votto going earlier in the day, it didn’t matter how hard Henry Rodriguez was throwing. His fastball was simply too straight to sneak past Votto three times with the bases loaded and the game on the line. And it was a big ballgame. The Reds again salvage a miracle contest on getaway day to improve their record to 10-1 in such contests.
For as many friends that want to text message me and tell me that “the Reds had no business winning this game,” I say in rebuttal that the Reds show what is at their core in these types of contests. Teams continue to let them off the hook in the final frame, and the Reds continue to scrap out tough wins that good teams find a way to win.
Now, I had no idea that Votto would hit a dramatic walk-off grand slam into the center field green off Rodriguez, but when he did it I knew in my heart that this was still Joey Votto’s team; and we are still watching one of the game’s finest hitters at work.
They were calling him ‘The Natural’ after the ballgame. And the Reds had the type of victory that salvages not only a series from a sweep but perhaps an entire season.
This wasn’t Joey Votto’s first county fair. In fact, he’s hit another big game-winning blast on another Mother’s Day. And that homer was also a defining moment in a special season of Reds baseball. Flash back to 2010, a day that many of you have probably forgotten. The Reds beat the Cubs that day a few years ago and then rolled to the division title.
Will 2012 have the a similar fate? I was just about to stop believing in my lofty prediction of a Reds NLCS appearance. And then Joey Votto put the Reds on his shoulders and told me not so fast.
It’s going to be a hot summer in Cincinnati, and things are just getting started.