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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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Votto Sinks Brewers and Hoffman, 5-4

Joey Votto nearly sunk the steamboat in centerfield with his ninth home run off Marco Estrada in the eighth inning. An inning later, he scalded the ball off aging Trevor Hoffman to sink the Brewers, 5-4

It was the 10th game the team has won in its last at bat and its 13th come-from-behind victory.  The win salvaged Homer Bailey's second straight good start.

"It was not a question that we were going to come back," Bailey said.  "It was more when was it going to happen.  That's not to sound arragant but that's the confidence we have in each other right now."

Hoffman, once a feared closer that entered games to the haunting tones of AC/DC's Hell's Bells, entered in the ninth. He walked to the mound carrying a 1-2 record and an 11.08 ERA. He has just five saves. He never got an out.

"To come back against arguably the best closer of all-time, says a lot," Votto said.  "I think the guys on the team felt like we had a shot.  The first guy got on base and away we went."

“They don’t quit," Baker said of his young Reds. "They’re always looking for an opening. They’re always looking for an edge.”

After cameras leave, unprompted Baker described the game.

“That’s wonderful. Shit. That’s a good one, boy.”

The 42-year old Brewer's closer has now blown five saves in 10 chances.  Hoffman was a former infielder in the Reds minor league system, who was taken by the Florida Marlins in the 1993 expansion draft.  It appears that his 596th save is the highest of all-time and today was his 999th appearance but it may be his last.

Beleagured Brewers manager Ken Maccha was sullen.

"The tough part of this game is to play your hearts out and get to the ninth inning and not close it off," Maccha said.  "We have to have a discussion about a lot of things."

As happy as the Reds were to come back and win there was a sense of saddness in watching a sure Hall of Famer struggle.

"I've sat down with Trevor before and asked if there was anything I could do to help.  He said that I've done all that I could to help him."

Hoffman told the Associated Press, "If there was a solution to the problem we would have found it by now."  He left the impression that he senses the end of his career is near.
The young Reds seized the moment like the young male dear challenges the dominant male of the herd.

Paul Janish singled to center. Scott Rolen, getting the day off, hit his eighth home run of the season, his second career pinch hit home run to tie the game.   Rolen prefers not to pinch hit.

“I guess the politicially correct answer isn’t no. Everybody gets nervous pinch-hitting. Your heart rate goes up. It’s a very difficult thing to do.”

Explaining his success against Hoffman?

“I can’t. He’s the all-time saves leader, and I don’t look forward to facing him. I see the ball well. I saw it today. Imagine my surprise when it went out.”

Heisey hustled a line drive to left into a double. Brandon Phillips walked.   Votto hit the ball over Hart's head as Heisey sprinted home.

Bailey's day started out rough.  Pitching for a hot team on a cold day in May, Bailey allowed a home run to Ryan Braun, a double to Prince Fielder and a run-scoring single to Casey McGehee.

For the next six innings Bailey held the high scoring Brewers to one hit and two walks, with one of those intentional.

“I’m happy he battled," Baker said.  "He was facing a high-octane team. He settled down. Hanigan directed him. They’ve got some big-time hitters over there.”

Unfortunately, his first place teammates were doing little with Milwaukee's emergency starter, Manny Para.

One of last night's heroes, Chris Heisey, walked to start the bottom of the first and scored on Red hot Jonny Gomes double with two outs.

Para was called out of the bullpen to replace the injured Doug Davis.  He had pitched no longer than three innings this year but allowed just four hits in four innings.  He pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth.

Marco Estrada was recalled from Nashville before the game.  He retired the first nine Reds he faced.

Laynce Nix appeared for the first time on this five-game homestand after healing a bad back.

Mike Lincoln, Danny Herrera and Carlos Fisher have had little work recently because the starters have pitched so deep into the last 11 games.

All three pitched to the Brewers in the eighth.

Alcides Escobar singled off Lincoln with one out.  He walked Braun.  Dusty Baker brought in lefty Herrera to pitch to lefty Fielder.  The little hurler that resembles a jockey fanned Fielder but gave up and RBI single to McGehee.  Fisher came on.  He threw a wild pitch that allowed Braun to score one pitch before he struck out Corey Hart to end the inning.

It ended up just setting the scene for another strong finish.

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