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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Reds Lone Hitter Sets Up Extra Inning Loss




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Justin Upton provided as many runs on one swing in the 12th inning as the Reds and Braves scored in the previous 11.

The 414 foot blast gave the Braves a 3-1 win over the punchless Reds.

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The Reds' sixth pitcher, Manny Parra walked Freddie Freeman, who trotted home ahead of Upton's 25th home run of the season.

"It's discouraging, frustrating or whatever other adjective you want to use," Bryan Price said.

Mat Latos pitched out of jams for most of his six innings.  He gave up aine hits tying his season high and he walked two batters.

Latos stranded a runner in the first inning. The Braves loaded the bases after two were out in the second but Latos escaped.

Tommy La Stella hit into a force play on which Zack Cozart made a diving stop to drive in the lone run off Latos.

The Atlanta starter, Mike Minor retired the first 10 Reds in order before issuing one of his three walks to Todd Frazier in the fourth.  The Reds were hitless after seven innings.

Minor was making a bid to throw the first no-hitter by a Braves pitcher since Kent Mercker, the former Red threw one on April 8, 1994 in Los Angeles.

The Reds were last the victim of a no-hitter on October 6, 2010 at Philadelphia in the playoffs.  Rick Wise of the Phillies threw the last regular season no-hitter against the Reds in Riverfront Stadium on June 23, 1971.  Wise also hit two home runs that night.
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Zack Cozart walked with one out in the eighth.  He went to second on pinch hitter Chris Heisey;s infield roller to third.  Billy Hamilton spoiled the no-hitter and tied the game with a soft line single to center.

Three innings later Hamilton got the Reds' second hit of the game with a ground ball up the middle.  He stole his third base of the night and 49th of the season but watched his flailing teammates beat the ball in the ground or popped it up in the air.

"Everybody hates to lose," Hamilton said.  "He (Minor) had a no-hitter but we were only down one run. I feel like it's going to get better."

Flame thrower Craig Kimbrel earned his 38th save with a scoreless 12th.

The Reds fell a season-low seven games below .500 at 61-68. They have lost nine extra-inning games while winning just three.

Oak Hills Grad Joel Bender Gets Promotion And Start




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The Reds' organization sent Oak Hills High School graduate, LHP Joel Bender from Dayton to Pensacola Blue Wahoos to make his second start of the season on Saturday night against the Montgomery Biscuits.

The Reds promoted RHP Daniel Corcino to pitch out of the Reds' bullpen, then elected Bender to make his first Double A start.
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Bender made one start at Dayton but pitched mostly out of the bullpen.  The 23-year old taken in the 27th round of the 2010 draft, had a 6-3 record at Dayton with a 4.67 ERA in 43 appearances.
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In his last 10 games, Bender is 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA over 21 2/3 innings.  Bender pitched five innings in relief of Amir Garrett on August 18.  He has also worked more than one inning in five of his last six appearances.

Reds Promote Daniel Corcino




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The brought RHP Daniel Corcino to the Major League club before the game.

David Holmberg, the starter in place of Homer Bailey on Thursday night, was optioned back to Louisville.

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Corcino will work out of the bullpen after making 25 starts at Double A, Pensacola.  Corcino, who has been to two spring training camps, was  a rising star in the Reds' system.  but had an off year in 2012.

Corcino was 7-14 with a 5.86 ERA in 23 starts for Louisville in 2012.  He was 10-11 with a 4.13 ERA with Pensacola this season.

"He's had a solid year," Bryan Price said.  "His command has been better especially, lately."
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Price said that Corcino is still considered a starter but will work out of the bullpen initially.  If more starts are needed in the continued absence of Bailey, Dylan Axlerod, who pitched in Colorado will make them.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Braves Uprising Reds Downfall Please Mr. Custer I Don't Want To Go




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Custer's last stand at the Little Bighorn lasted two hours and 25 minutes.  The Atlanta Braves took three hours 10 minutes to torture the Reds, 8-0

The Braves ambushed 23-year old David Holmberg and it wasn't the Braves that were wild.

Holmberg gave up five hits, walked four and hit two.  He walked the number eight hitter B.J. Upton, celebrating his 30th birthday, to get to the pitcher.  Holmberg promptly hit Atlanta starter, Julio Teheran with a pitch to load the bases then walked Jason Heyward to force in a run.

"We were hoping for a few more innings," Price said.  "He is a better pitcher than what he's shown here.  It seemed like when guys were on base, he tried to reach back a little. Then use his changeup. They figured out pretty quick that he was going to us his change up."

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Holmberg walked and hit a batter in the first but closed out the inning.

"You never know what guys put on their plate," Price said. "He knows we haven't been winning and wanted to be the guy."

Andrelton Simmons hit a solo home run in the second.  The Braves finished off Holmberg with five run third.   Holmberg lasted 2 2/3 innings, as he did on his Major League debut on July 8.

"It wasn't what I wanted to do," Holmberg said.  "This team has struggled to win games. I wanted to be the guy to win a ballgame.  I felt I had better command but the snowball effect took over. Things can snowball pretty quick at this level."

Pedro Villarreal mopped up with 2 1/3 innings after having his contract selected from Louisville this afternoon.  He allowed two runs. Villarreal hit a single in his second Major League at-bat in the third inning.

"Villarreal put us in a position where we didn't have to crush our bullpen," Price said.

Logan Ondrusek pitched two hitless, scoreless innings.

The bright spots on the mound came from Aroldis Chapman, who left the game on Sunday with soreness in his shoulder.  He entered the first game of that double header in the ninth inning with a five-run lead and walked the four batters he faced in an eventual 10-9 Reds' loss in Colorado.  Chapman struck out two in a perfect eighth.

"We had a two-fold reason to use him.  We could see that he was alright and if he came out of it we could use him tomorrow.  If we used (Jonathan) Broxton, (Jumbo) Diaz or (Sam) LeCure we couldn't have used them because they have worked too many days in a row," Price said.

Skip Schumaker made his fourth appearance on the mound. He walked a batter but allowed no hits in the ninth inning.  Schumaker was the first position player to take the mound since Paul Janish in 2009.

"If Skip Schumaker pitching is the bright spot of you game, it says a lot about your game.  That being said. He did it like he does everything else, with intensity.  He didn't want to give up a run," Price said.

It was the 11th time the Reds have been shutout, equaling last season's total.

Reds Make Changes To Pitching Staff




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The words Dam and Hoover are forever linked not only in Arizona but from lips of Reds' fans when J.J. Hoover was called on from the bullpen.

It has been a nightmare for Hoover with a 1-10 record with four of the Reds' walkoff losses being charged to him.  Hoover appeared in roles out of necessity that he would not ordinarily be placed. He pitched well in spots but his failures were glaring.  His confidence was down and he felt the need to apologize to the fans that screamed for his demotion.

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The Reds did just that when they optioned Hoover to Louisville along with Carlos Contreras, who also has an achy right shoulder.

The Reds recalled LHP David Holmberg from Louisville to make the start Thursday night.  The Reds selected the contract of Pedro Villareal from Louisville.  Villareal made an emergency starts last season for the Reds and one in 2012.  Villareal was signed by the Reds to a minor league contract in January.

Holmberg started for the Reds against the Chicago Cubs on July 8.  He allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings that day but the Reds came back to win 6-5.
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Holmberg was obtained in a three-team trade from Arizona in the Ryan Hannigan deal.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Brandon Phillips Back In Lineup





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After three rehab games, Brandon Phillips is back in the Reds lineup.

Phillips was 2-for-3 at Dayton, yesterday and is playing pain free.

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The Reds sent catcher Tucker Barnhart back to Louisville along with Dylan Axlerod and Curtis Partch, who was the extra player designated for the double header.

The Reds activated Logan Ondrusek from the 15-day disabled list.

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Phillips, who is back two weeks early from a torn ligament in his left thumb, will be at secondbase and bat sixth against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Boston Sweeps Two Game Series




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Mike Leake homered for the second time this season and fourth time in his career but gave up a big home run to Mike Napli with a runner on to give back the lead, the home run staked him to.

The 5-4 decision was the fourth one-run loss to Boston this season, two in Boston in May and the last two nights in Cincinnati.  It dropped the Reds' record to 60-60.

Yoenis Cespedes had two singles and two RBI before he left the game with a contusion on his right hand.  Cepedes who homered to put the Red Sox in the lead on Wednesday, was on base with a game-tying single when Napoli connected on his 15th of the season.

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Rookie Anthony Ranaudo was staked to a quick two-run lead in the first inning.

Brock Holt singled off Leake and took second when a pitch got away from Reds' catcher Devin Mesoraco.  Daniel Nava singled to plate Holt and went to second on the throw home.  Nava took third on a slow roller to short and scored on a fielder's choice when Todd Frazier's throw to the plate on Napoli's ground ball was late.

The Reds dealt themselves back into the game on a single by Kristopher Negron, a ground-rule double by Frazier.  Devin Mesoraco's fly to deep center brought Negron home. 

Skip Schumaker and Leake both hit their second home run of the season off Ranaudo and took a brief lead.

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Holt doubled with one our and scored on a single by Cespedes to tie the game and rode home on Napoli's blast to right.

Frazier's sacrifice fly followed Negron's first career triple to make it a one-run game.

Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth, extending his streak to 49 appearances with at least one strikeout.  He ha struck out the side 10 times this season.

Former Cardianal closer Edward Mujica survived two singles to open the ninth to earn his third save.

Brandon Phillips Could Be Back Next Homestand





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Brandon Phillips' left thumb has healed well enough to take batting practice.  He has been taking ground balls for more than a week.

Unless he has a setback, he could join the Reds at the end of the upcoming road trip in St. Louis or when the Reds return home on August 21 against Atlanta.

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"He is going to have a couple more workout days and if everything goes we'll,get him into some minor league games," Bryan Price said. "Then it will be a game-by-game evaluation He need at least a handful of games for us to assess.  If all goes well he could play in a game Friday at either Louisville or Dayton."
 
Phillips sprained his left thumb trying to make a diving stop of a ground ball on July 10 against the Chicago Cubs.  He had surgery the next day and was expected to miss six to eight weeks.
 
"Brandon loves to play," Price said. "I won't say he rushed his return but he took all of the steps as quickly as he could."
 
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Phillips has been out long enough that he will need some at-bats to recover his timing.

"Repetitions are foo but we also want him back.  We have to marry those two things," Price said.
"We can't give him a full spring but we at least want to give him a few games to get his timing back. Potentially we could have him back near the end of this road trip or when we get back."

Price can see light at the end of Joey Votto's tunnel, too.

"I don't like to put too much out there but I could see him starting baseball activities in the next two weeks or week and a half," Price said.

"Ondrusek wiil go pitch on Friday and could join us in St. Louis."

Jay Bruce Scratched From Lineup




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Jay Bruce was in the original lineup but showed up in the clubhouse sick on Wednesday morning.

The rightfielder was replaced by Skip Schumaker, who originally was supposed to get the start in leftfield.  Ryan Ludwick entered the lineup in leftfield.

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Kristopher Negron was in the lineup batting sixth but took Bruce's spot in the second spot in the batting order.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yoenis Cespedes Beats Jonathan Broxton As Boston Comes From Behind



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Jonathan Broxton was going to challenge Yoenis Cespedes, even after he threw a pitch high and tight spinning the Red Sox batter's cap.

The next pitch traveled 433 ft with a man on base to  give the Red Sox a 3-2 win, its third straight over the Reds, all by a single run.

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'Broxton has been outstanding since coming off the disabled list in April," Bryan Price said.  "He had an ERA of one (1.07). I have no regrets.  Broxton came right after him.  This time the kid beat him."

Mat Latos held tightly to the 2-0 lead the Reds mustered off Boston starter Joe Kelly in the first inning.  Billy Hamilton walked, stole second and went to third on catcher Christian Vasquez's errant throw into centerfield. 

Jay Bruce walked.  Todd Frazier singled Hamilton home.  Hot hitting Devin Mesoroco, 3-for-4 singled Bruce home.

That was it for the Reds' scoring.

"Kelly commanded his fastball better after the first inning," Price said.

Latos was in trouble in the first, two on and one out and the third, two on, two out but shutdown the Red Sox until the seventh.

"I concentrated on keeping the ball down," Latos said.

He retired eight straight after the third.

"Mat was teffific," Price said.  "With runners in scoring position, he did a great job."
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"I was working on strike one, then expanding the strike zone," Latos said.

Daniel Nava led off with a double.  Rookie shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, singled to put the Sox within a run.

Broxton came in to start the eighth with a 1.07 ERA.

Brock Holt singled to start the inning.  Dustin Pedroia flied out to right.  David Ortiz was robbed of a hit when Brayan Pena leaped to stab his high chop down the line and recorded the out as Holt moved to second.  Broxton threw a pitch high and tight to Cespedes.  The leftfielder, who came to Boston from Oakland at the trade deadline drilled Broxton's next pitch to the green space in centerfield.

The Reds went down quietly over the last two innings.

Homer Bailey Will Get Extra Days Rest





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Homer Bailey was originally scheduled to pitch against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon, as manager Bryan Pena was trying to give the entire starting rotation an extra days rest.

The Reds had an off-day on Monday

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"Homer felt a little elbow stiffness," Price said.  "It didn't make sense to send him out there (on Wednesday0.  He should be ready by Saturday."

It was nothing new but it was a little tighter than it normally is

"It is a little tight so they decided to give me a few extra days," Bailey said.  "My bulging disc in my neck is a little pissed too."

Logan Ondrusek pitched a simulated game against Tucker Barnhart and Skip Schumaker before Tuesday's game.
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"He was sharp and used all of his pitches," Price said.  "We will get him an inning of rehab, then have him join us in Colorado."

"The main thins is everything feels good," Ondrusek said, who threw 34 pitches.  "They put a couple of balls in play against me but they were ground balls.  That's a good sign."

Joey Votto still isn't doing any baseball related activities.

Brandon Phillips continues to hit in the batting cage against coaches pitching and will need a rehab assignment when he has taken live batting practice.

"As long as he is swinging without pain, he can continue," Price said.  "If he is still pain free after live batting practice against a 90 mph pitch rather than the coaches 58 mph pitches, then we can send him out to get his timing back."

Cuban Born Pitcher Raisel Iglesias Arrives In Cincinnati



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The Reds introduced Raisel Iglesias the latest Cuban to sign with a Major League team. 

The Reds signed Iglesias to a seven-year contract on June 27.  Visa problems kept the right-handed pitcher in Haiti until Sunday, when he arrived in Cincinnati.

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Iglesias joins current Reds' players, Brayan Pena and Aroldis Chapman, both of whom encouraged the 24-year old to sign with Cincinnati.

"He's a tremendous athlete, a converted shortstop. He throws 94-96 with two quality breaking pitches, a curveball and power slider, and has the makings of a quality changeup," Jocketty said. "He has four quality pitches, and our scouts feel he can be a starter and be a starter very soon. What we've tried to develop here is pitching and defense. The more pitching we can acquire, the deeper we can get, the more flexibility it gives us going forward."

Braynn Pena and Aroldis Chapman were in contact with Iglesias during his negotiations with the Reds.

"Chapman especially, talked to him," Pena said.  "Aroldis is quiet but is very persuasive.  I don't think he wants to take credit though."
 
Iglesias pitched for Isla de la Juventud in Cuba's National Series for 3 seasons and compiled an 8-12 record and 3.47 ERA over 5 starts and 83 relief appearances (223ip, 202h, 115bb, 169k, 11hr).
 
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 "Iglesias is a nice young man," manager Bryan Price said.  "I'm looking forward to getting him acclimated.  He is going to be a nice piece once he gets here."
 
 




Sunday, August 10, 2014

Devin Mesoraco And Johnny Cueto Reel In Marlins



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Devin Mesoraco's fourth career grand slam in the fifth inning gave Johnny "Beisboll" Cueto all the run support necessary u a 7-2 win/.

Mesoraco single handedly matched National League home run leader, Giancarlo Stanton's 29th home run and Casey McGehee's third home run, both off Cueto.

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The Reds catcher hit his 19th off Miami starter, Brad Hand, with Jay Bruce on base in the first inning, his 19th of the season and crushed his 20th with the bases loaded. It was Mesoraco's third career mult-home run game.  The six RBI is a new career high.

Cueto gave up just three other hits singles to pitcher Brad Hand, Stanton and McGehee.  Bruce nearly turned McGehee;s bloop single into a force at second but Stanton just beat the throw.

Bruce robbed Stnaton of his 30th home run in the top of the eighth, snatching his long fly from the first row of seats in right.  Bruce's right wrist was three inches above the fence when he made the catch.

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Cueto won his 14th game of the season.  Cueto is 9-1 in his last 10 decisions.  He completed eight innings, allowing just five hits while striking out nine.

Billy Hamiton Gets A Day Off - Brayan Pena Still Gimpy.



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Billy Hamilton is getting Sunday off.  Combined with Monday's off-day, it will give the slightly built rookie two days in a row.

Hamilton is in uncharted territory when it comes to games played.  The minor league season ends after August.  Hamilton was called up last September but was used sparingly as a pinch runner with a couple spot starts.  This season he will be in the every day lineup after last season and a month of Winter League baseball.

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"We will probably run him pretty hard for the next six weeks or so," Bryan Price said.

Pena is still taking treatment on a tight left hamstring.  He is sitting on a career-high 13-game hitting streak.  Pena extended the streak with one pinch hit at bat on Saturday with a single that short hopped the rightfield fence.
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"From the looks at the pinch hit yesterday, I'm not comfortable that 16 hours would put him in the place where I would be comfortable with him catching or maybe getting four or five at-bats while running the bases. It was too much of a  risk," Price said.

Pena had become Johnny Cueto's de facto personal catcher.  Today Cueto will work with Devin Mesoraco.

"Devin's caught Johnny before.  They'll do fine together." Price said.  '

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Reds Rally Falls Short Bad Baserunning Seals Second Straight Loss






On a night the Reds honored the best players in its history the current Reds played like they were in Little League.

The Marlins knocked in three runs without a hit, while taking advantage of wildness by Alfredo Simon, who failed in his fifth attempt at his 13th win.

The Reds ran themselves out of scoring chances in a 4-3 loss.

"In a nutshell it wasn't a terribly well played game by either team," Bryan Price said. "The effort was there but the execution wasn't.  There were baserunning mistakes.  I will leave it at that."

Christian Yellich opened the game with a double.  Donovan Solano bunted him to third.  Giancarlo Stanton the National League home run leader with 28, flied deep enough to center for Yellich to trot home.

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Brad Penny, the veteran, started for Miami.  He pitched for the Marlins 10 years ago before leaving. Penny's contract was purchased today from New Orleans and he made his first Major League start since 2011.

Jay Bruce hit his 12th home run of the season off Penny to tie the game in the bottom of the first.

Simon issued one of his five walks to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to open the second.  Adeiny Hechavarria singled.  Penny's sacrifice moved them up a base. Yellich's ground out scored the run.

"It comes down to pitch execution," Price said.  "The first inning they hit the ball on the screws.  Simon elevated a lot of pitches.  He didn't want to come out of the game in the fifth but he had too.  He threw 91 pitches in five innings."

The Reds tied it off Penny in the third but missed a chance to take the lead.

Billy Hamilton laid down a bunt single.  Bruce's groundball to first got past Garrett Jones at firstbase for an error.  Hamiliton ended up on third.  Bruce stole second base.  Todd Frazier grounded a single to center.  Hamilton scored easily but Bruce was thrown out at home by Marcel Ozuna. It was the 24 th Reds' runner to be thrown out at home without being forced out.
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The Reds loaded the bases with two outs but Yellich made a running catch toward the leftfield line to rob Skip Schumaker of extra bases.

Simon left after five innings with the score tied 2-2.

Sam LeCure walked Saltalamacchia to start the sixth.  Hechavarria singled.  Pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin sacrificed to move both to scoring position.  Yellich delivered the third run with a fly to Bruce in right.  Solano doubled to score Hechavarria. Stanton was wisely walked intentionally by Jumbo Diaz, replacing LeCure.  Diaz struck out Casey McGehee to end the inning.. 

The Reds rallied off Bryan Morris.

Devin Mesoraco doubled to lead off the inning.  Brayan Pena, nursing a tight left hamstring, limped to the plate and hit a long single off the rightfield wall.  Mesoraco held third.  Skip Schumaker got the run home by forcing pinch runner Mike Leake at second.  Kristopher Negron struck out swinging. Zack Cozart worked the count full but grounded to short to end the threat.

Aroldis Chapman, who needed the work after a week off, struck out Stanton to extend his streak to 48 relief appearances with at least one strikeout.

Steve Cishek gave up a single to Chris Heisey, who represented the tying run.  Heisey was picked off badly.  Hamilton popped up to center on a 3-2 pitch.  Bruce struck out swinging.

"No one feels worse than Heisey right now," Price said.



Ken Griffey Jr., Ron Oester and Dave Parker Join Jake Beckley In Hall of Fame



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The Reds inducted its 2014 class into the team Hall of Fame before the game with the Miami Marlins.  Ken Griffey Jr.. Ron Oester, Dave Parker and Jake Beckley are the new members.

Jake Beckley from Hannibal, Missouri is the only member of the group that did not grow up in the Cincinnati area.  He played firstbase for the Reds from 1897-1903 and hit .325 as a Red.  He is a member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
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Griffey attended Moeller High School although he was born in his father's hometown of Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21, 1969, the same day in the same hometown as Hall of Famer Stan Musial.  Griffey came to Cincinnati as a child while his father played for the Reds during the Big Red Machine era.  Griffey Sr. is also a member of the Reds' Hall of Fame.  Griffey returned to the Reds in 2000, hitting his 400th, 500th and 600th career home runs with his hometown team.

Ron Oester was born on May 5, 1956 in Cincinnati and attended Withrow High School.  He was drafted by the Reds in the ninth round of the 1974 draft.  Oester broke into the majors in the 1978 season and played his entire career with the Reds.  In his last season, 1990, the Reds went wire-to-wire, were in first place from the first day of the season.  Oester played in 64 games and hit .289.  Oester became a coach and was on the staff when Griffey Jr. returned to Cincinnati as a player.

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Dave Parker was born on June 9, 1951 in Grenada, Mississippi.  He moved with his family to Cincinnait, growing up a block away from historic Crosley Field.  Parker was drafted in the 14th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Parker broke in with the Pirates in 1973 and was a member of their "We Are Family" team that won the 1979 World Series.  Parker came to the Reds in 1983 as a free agent.  He was second in the Most Valuable Player Award balloting in 1985 when he hit .312 with 34 home runs and 125 RBI.  He led the league with 42 doubles.

"I;m excited," Griffey said.  "It is exciting to be in the Hall of Fame with my dad and Lee May and the rest.  I was with my son Trey (a wide receiver at the University of Arizona) when they called me. I didn't even know I was nominated.  It is a great honor."

"I can't decide how I feel," Oester said.  "I need to be pinched. I never dreamed I would be a member of this Hall of Fame. It is an honor to be sitting in between these two (Griffey and Parker)."

"It is the greatest honor I've ever had so far," Parker said.  "To be in the Hall of Fame of the team I grew up with.  I lived a block over from Crosley Field.  We used to play ball against the wall of Crosley Field."



Donald Lutz Optioned To Louisville Tucker Barnhart Recalled



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The Reds optioned Donald Lutz to Louisville and recalled catcher Tucker Barnhart from Louisville.

Barnhart will provide backup at catcher for Devin Mesoraco.  Brayan Pena is dealing with a tight left hamstring.

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"It has been bothering me for awhile," Pena said.  "They saw me run to first yesterday and thought it was worse than normal."

Reds manager Bryan Pirce said, "It required more TLC than normal we are hopeful that Brayan can catch tomorrow."

The Reds are not putting Pena on the disabled list, feeling that the injury is not severe and a day's rest here and there will allow Pena to perform.  Pena currently has a career-high 13-game hitting streak.
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"The roster move has two purposes," Price said.  "Tucker can provide insurance at catcher.  Donald needed to go down and play.  We haven't had much of an opportunity to get him in the lineup.  He will probably be back in September."

Rosters expand in September after minor league seasons end.