Reds Welcome Leake Back With Walk-Off Win
The Cincinnati Reds did what they had to do. They took on former teammate Mike Leake and handed him and the St. Louis Cardinals a 7-6 loss. The Redlegs have won seven of their last 10 games and seem to be turning things around. The bats are starting to come alive and the pitching staff is waking up. Things look a little better on the shores of the Ohio River.
The first three frames took on the familiar feel of a classic pitcher’s duel. That was put to rest in the top of the fourth. Jhonny Peralta, fresh from the DL, banged a double to left-center field that helped put the Cards up 1-0. Stephen Piscotty moved to third base. That put Reds’ starter John Lamb in a tight situation. Matt Adams continued the rally with an RBI base hit.
Leake was able to stay focused. After a busy first inning, he settled down. The Reds tried to unnerve Leake and almost succeeded. Joey Votto tagged the righty for a double and stolen base. But he was able to get out of the inning with little damage.
After the Redbirds took the lead, the Reds came roaring back. As of late, the Cincinnati offense has been able to mount rallies that count. The fourth inning comeback was a doozy. Three of the runs were generated by another Adam Duvall long ball. It didn’t take Duvall long to figure out what Leake was throwing. He cranked home run No. 17 on the second pitch he saw. It was his fourth homer in five days. The Redlegs took a 4-1 lead.
Cincinnati tagged Leake again in the seventh inning. Of the two runs the Reds plated, Billy Hamilton‘s leadoff bomb was the big blow.
Lamb turned in another sparkling performance. Per MLB, he worked 7.1 innings, before being lifted from the game. The stint on the mound was the longest of his career. As if on cue, that’s when things got shaky for the Reds. The bullpen was called into play and that’s not always a good option.
Blake Wood proceeded to give up a bases-loaded double to Peralta in the top of the eighth frame. The Cardinals had cut the lead to 6-4. The Reds looked like they might get away with an easy win. That’s not how the Cincinnati bullpen works. Tony Cingrani pitched the top of the ninth. He gave up a one-out two-run double to Matt Carpenter. Reds relief pitchers have blown 12 of 19 saves opportunities, this year. The game was tied 6-6.
The Reds had just recently blown a five-run lead when they lost to the Washington Nationals. It looked as if the relievers were going to make it two in a row.
That’s when the sudden penchant for heroics kicked in for the Redlegs. With one out in the bottom half of the ninth inning, Votto redeemed the bullpen. He slammed Kevin Siegrist‘s 2-0 pitch into the left-center field bullpen, for the game-winning blow.
“That was special,” manager Bryan Price said, via ABC News.
“Siegrist has been hard on us since he came into the league – on everybody, really. Joey took advantage of a 2-0 pitch and brought us to this place. It’s a nice place to be.”
That feeling was definitely shared by the rest of the Reds. As Votto crossed home plate, he was mobbed by his teammates.
Votto is making slow strides to get back on track. He knows the Reds are depending on his bat. But, he was content to savor the moment.
“I’m hitting.220 and it’s June. I am frustrated, and we’re losing a lot. Today, we didn’t lose. That’s a good feeling.”
A series win over the Cards might help that frustration.
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]