About Me

My photo
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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Disappointing Reds Season Ends In A 3-0 Loss To Mets

Edinson Volquez started the season on the mound for the Reds with a lot of promise.

The former 17 game winner was poised for a successful season, having returned from elbow surgery with a strong finish in 2010.

The two batters he faced hit home runs off Volquez.  It was a bad omen.

The Reds came back to win that game and the next four but the season unraveled from there.

Volquez pitched very well against the Mets in the finale.  He allowed just six hits, and three of those were infield hits, including a game opening bunt single by Jose Reyes. He walked one and that runner scored.  He allowed Queens, New York native, Mike Baxter to hit his first career home run with a man on.

Ancient Miguel Batista handcuffed the Reds.  Only a double by Chris Heisey and a single by Edgar Renteria blemished his outing.

The Reds ended the season 79-83.

Joey Votto ended with 29 home runs.  Jay Bruce ended with 97 RBI both were trying to become just the sixth set of Reds teammates to hit at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI in the same season.

Reyes left the game after his bunt single to protect his lead for the batting title.  Ryan Braun would have to go 4-for-4 tonight to take the batting crown.  Never mind that Braun played in 29 more games during the season.

Reds Win 5-4 In 13 innings

Bronson Arroyo fell one inning short of 200 innings but Juan Francisco provided late inning offense to lead the Reds to its 12 extra-inning victory of the season.

Arroyo's propensity for giving up the long ball caused his removal for a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.

Jay Bruce hit a two-run home run off Chris Capuano in the first inning.  It was his 100th career home run, making him the third youngest Red player to reach 100.  Johnny Bench and Frank Robinson were slightly younger.  Joey Votto hit his 29th home run of the season to tie the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning.

Jose Reyes hit the 45th and 46th home runs that Arroyo has allowed this season.  It is a Reds team record and two short of  Jose Lima's National League record.  Curiously, Arroyo walked only 45 batters.  He is the first pitcher to give up at least 40 home runs and walk fewer than 50 batters since Hall of Famer, Robin Roberts in 1956 and 1957.

The second of Reyes' blasts gave the Mets a 4-3.  This turned out to be the blow to Arroyo's quest for 200 innings.

Dusty Baker would have stuck with Arroyo win or lose but they had to tie the score at least to give Arroyo a shot at the goal.  With two outs and a runner on, Edgar Renteria hit for Arroyo.  Renteria singled.

Juan Francisco didn't start the game .  He hit for Brandon Phillips, who pulled a quad, legging out an infield hit to put his batting average at an even .300.   Francisco doubled to tie the game.

The bullpens battled for four innings until Francisco tripled one out into the 13th.  Drew Stubbs, who already had a single, double and triple came to the plate.  Stubbs maligned for being a subpar bunter executed a perfect squeeze bunt to give the Reds the lead.

Francisco Cordero strolled in looking for his 37th save of the season, the tie breaker for 11th place on the all-time list and his 150th save as a Red.

Coco went loco and walked Nick Evans to start the inning.  Evans was caught stealing as Cordero walked Josh Thole.  His control completely left him.  Cordero walked Josh Satin and Jason Pridie to load the bases.

Justin Turner hit a line drive right to Todd Frazier, who moved from thirdbase to second when Phillips was removed.  Frazier made a nice diving stop to rob David Wright earlier in the game.  He snagged the liner and stepped on second base to give the Red its.29th one-run win and 12th extra inning win.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arroyo Falls One Inning Short Of His Goal

Bronson Arroyo pitched eight innings against the New York Mets in his final start.

Unless he pitches an inning in relief on Wednesday, Arroyo will finish the season with 199 the first time since 2004 when he pitched 178 innings for the Boston Red Sox.

Edgar Renteria pinch hit for Arroyo in the ninth inning with the Reds trailing 4-3.  The Reds tied the game on Juan Francisco's double.   Francisco hit for Brandon Phillips, who left with a pulled quad.  Phillips batting average is an even .300.

Personal Goals In Sight In New York

Bronson Arroyo needs to go nine innings to reach the 200 inning milestone for the seventh consecutive year. Since coming to Cincinnati prior to the 2006 season, Arroyo leads the National League with 201 starts, including tonight's game in New York.  He started the game with 1,278.1 innings also tops in the National League since 2006.

On the downside, he has given up two home runs to Jose Reyes.  That gives him 46 for the season, two short of Jose Lima's National League record.

Jay Bruce hit his 32nd home run of the season.  It is the 100th of his career, making the third youngest player to reach 100 career home runs.  Johnny Bench and Frank Robinson were slightly younger.  He has two RBI through six innings, giving him 97.

Joey Votto hit his 29th home run off Chris Capuano.

Votto and Bruce are close to becoming the sixth set of Reds teammates to hit at least 30 home runs and drive in at least 100 runs. The last pair to accomplish this were George Foster 52 hr and 148 RBI and Johnny Bench 31 hr and 109 RBI in 1977.

Through six innings Brandon Phillips is hitting an even .300.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Heisey Stars With Bat and Glove in Reds 6-5 Win Over Mets

Chris Heisey hit a three-run home run and made a dazzling catch to put the Reds over the top in the Big Apple.

With the Reds trailing 4-3 in the seventh inning, Heisey followed singles by Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, by greeting Josh Stinson with a long home run to left field. It is Heisey's 18th of the season and gave him an even 50 RBI on the year.

Heisey kept the Reds close with a diving catch of David Wright's line drive to the gap in left center.  The Mets had runners on first and second with two outs. The blow would have scored two unless runners, Jose Reyes or Willie Harris pulled up lame scampering to the plate.

Logan Ondrusek will take the win but Wright's line drive came on a 3-1 pitch and was the only batter "Big" Ondrusek faced.

Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo held the lead to turn it over to Francisco Cordero.

Homer Bailey pursued his 10th win of the season, his nine wins remain a career high.

Bailey pitched out of trouble in the first but could not repeat his escape act in the third with a 2-0 lead.

Jose Reyes and Ruben Tejada singled off Bailey with one out.  Bailey worked on Wright and made some good pitches but Wright being the good hitter that he is, took a 3-2 pitch up the middle to get the Mets within a run.

Nick Evans doubled out of the wrong barrel to right field to put the Mets on top.

Heisey had a big role in getting the Reds even.  He bunted for a hit, then stole second.  Dave Sappelt delivered Heisey with a ground single to left.

Bailey has touched for a triple by Jason Pridie one out into the fourth inning.  Bailey committed a "Cardinal" baseball sin by walking rookie pitcher, Chris Swinden.  A strike out would have gone a long way to extricating himself from the inning.  Reyes hit a fly to right to put the Mets back on top.

The Reds showed the main reason they will not be in the playoffs in the sixth.

Cincinnati loaded the bases with no one out in the sixth. Heisey and Juan Francisco singled to open the frame off former teammate, Daniel Ray Herrera.. Sappelt laid down a great bunt.  He was credited with a sacrifice but it could have been scored a hit. Instead, Wright was charged with a tough error.

The Reds imploded from there.  Needing a big hit to put Bailey in position for his 10th win, Devin Mesoroco tried to do too much with a good pitch to hit and popped it up in front of the plate against Ryota Igarashi.  Yonder Alonso batted for Bailey.  He struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch.  Brandon Phillips, who ended the game with an average at an even .300, grounded meekly to second.

Coco Cordero gave up a leadoff double then hit Wright with a pitch.  He got out of the inning by turning Evans bunt into a force at third.  Cordero got Josh Thole to hit a 1-0 pitch to Phillips, who started a 4-6-3 double play.  It was Cordero's 326th career save that ties Roberto Hernandez for 12th place on the all time list.  He passed John Franco, a former Met that attended the game, to become second on the Reds career save list with 149.

D Train Gets His First Win Over Pittsburgh

Dontrelle Willis has pitched much better than his 1-6 record indicates.

On Sunday's 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Willis overcame a rocky second inning and the Reds lack of clutch hitting by taking matters into his own hands or should we say bat.

Willis clubbed a two-run double in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie.

The lefthander, who is a free agent after the season, had nine quality starts among his 12 starts since the Reds brought him up from Louisville to make a July 10 start.  Willis has lost two of those games.  He has been the victim of two blown saves.

The win was Willis 72nd of his career and the first since June 5 2010 when he defeated Colorado as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Reds left 10 runners on base against Pittsburgh on Sunday.   Willis, who is now hitting a hot .400 blasted a long double to score Paul Janish and Devin Mesoraco to put the Reds up 5-3.

Willis turned the ball over to the bullpen.

Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman guarded the lead with one scoreless inning each. They turned the game over to Coco Cordero, who gave up a run, but notched his 35th save of the season.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Walt Jocketty and The Reds Agree on a Three Year Contract Extension

The Reds announced minutes ago that Walt Jocketty has signed through the 2014 season.

The Reds front office will have the continuity needed to build a team for long term success through the farm system.  The Reds farm system started by Dan O'Brien and Wayne Krivsky has begun to produce major league players at the rate that is healthy for a smaller market franchise.

O'Brien and Krivsky's draft choices and farmhands have arrived to the point that the Reds have a prospect at every position.  They are even beginning to have the happy problem of having too much depth at certain positions.  Jocketty has recognized this and continued the philosophy of developing talent internally.

Jocketty has shown that he can make shrewd trades but his value to the Reds is that he has also shown patience.  He has avoided the temptation of making deals for appearances.  He kept his prospects when many wanted him to "over pay" to bring in veterans for the 2011 stretch run.  He will not make a trade merely to show fans the team is doing something..

Jocketty has the good sense to hire, keep and trust his baseball people, who can break down a swing as opposed to relying on the statistical number crunchers that have infiltrated the game in the last 20 years.

Bearcats Maul Wolfpack in 44-14 Win

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats put up over 500 yards of offense and took advantage of three turnovers to soundly whip the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Thursday.

Isaiah Pead ran for 167 yards,. Zach Collaros ran for 60 and threw for 233 and two touchdowns.

NC State took the last meeting at home last September with a 30-19 win over the Cats.

This one was completely different.  Cincinnati turned an interception by Drew Frey into a touchdown.  The pick followed a 76-yard punt by Pat O'Donnell the second longest in Bearcat history.

"I knew we were going to play exceptionally well," Cincinnati coach Butch Jones said. "Our kids were very focused."

They jumped on the Wolfpack with a vengeance buildin a 21-0 lead until Mike Glennon found T.J. Graham behind the UC defense with 4:30 left in the first half.

"They came out fast and furious and we didn't match it.," Graham said.  "The touchdown gave me a spark because I fumbled the series before but the spark didn't last long."
Jones is convinced last year's loss in Raleigh was the catalyst for this game.

"We were really disappointd with the way we played against them last year.  They dominated us in all three phases.  It wasn't even close," Jones said. "I think our kids took a lot of pride in being a tough football team.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Phillips Wants An Extension Now

Brandon Phillips will be a Red next year but wants to be a Red forever.

Cincinnati General Manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the team was definitely going to pick up Phillips option.

Phillips is thankful but wants to talk after a sleepless night in which he envisioned the Reds' last home game of 2011 as the last time Cincinnati would see him with the wishbone C.

"I haven't heard anything about them picking up my option.  I'm just playing.  That's all I can really do.  I feel like this is my city. I couldn't sleep last night, you know.  I was awake at like seven o'clock in the morning.  I'm surprised I got some hits today."

"That's how crazy the game is," Phillips said.  "I thought this might be it for me here, of course you never know your future.  They could not pick my option up and I'd become a free agent, that is, it's an option.  It was a sad night for me.  I couldn't sleep. I mean I just remember the way Harang was acting.  He was crying and stuff.  I wasn't crying. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sensitive individual but the thing is you never know the future.  You can't predict the future. That's how crazy this game is its a business."

Not only does Phillips want to come back, he is going to insist that he has an extension for what he is worth as a player.  He really wants to return but doesn't want to discount his value to the team.


"This is my last contract.  There's no homeboy hookup.  That isn't going to work.  I just want to be paid what I'm worth. I feel like I didn't have the opportunity to be the player I can really be.  I feel like I didn't have the chance this year. I hit all over the lineup. Like this year, I thought I'd be hitting at the top of the lineup but I had to go down and do what's best for the team.  Thjis is the best year I've had in a Reds' uniform.  I think I proved to a lot of people that I can really play this game and get things done."

He really has no choice if the Reds want to wait to negotiate later, but Phillips wants the extension done before spring training.

"No, really no. To be honest with you no I wouldn't," said Phillips when asked if he'd like to work out an extension during the season.  "That's just real talk. That's like if you rent a house for a year.  That's not going to work.I am very content with them picking up my option if they do, but this is my career.  You never know what's going to happen. I could be hurt next year and my career would be over.  I want an extension.  I want to stay here for the rest of my career.  Hopefully, they can get it done. If not, I'll be hurt.  I very thankful to the Castellini's.  They made me a rich man. Yes, thank you very much.  I want to be here.  This is where I want to be." 

Phillips posted on twitter that he wanted an extension.  Manager Dusty Baker doesn't believe that Phillips should have been so public about his negotiations.

"I don't read those (tweets) plus, that's not real good to negotiate through the papers or tweets," Baker said. "They usually don't negotiate those until the end of the season with a lot of guys."

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
for proof reading services call

Arroyo Nears His Goal By Shutting Out Astros 2-0

Bronson Arroyo was short of his personal goal and took matters into his own hands.

Arroyo pitched a six-hitter and the Cincinnati Reds wrapped up their home schedule Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros.

The righthander takes pride in pitching 200 innings a season like he has in each of the past six seasons. With two starts left, he was 18 innings short and needed two complete games to reach the milestone. One is in the books.

"I've said my whole career, I'd like to come in one day and have the manager tell me I have nine innings, even if I give up 14 runs," Arroyo said. "Durability is the mark of a starting pitcher."

Arroyo has had a frustrating year and set the Reds team record with home runs allowed with 44.

"People were talking about taking him out of the rotation so he didn't break the home run record," Dusty Baker said. "I'm glad for him. It's been a tough year for him. He's a man. He competes as hard as any player I've been around. I wouldn't bet against him getting his 200 innings."

Miguel Cairo homered as Cincinnati finished 42-39 at Great American Ball Park. The Reds drew 2,213,498 this season, an increase of 152,948 over last year's attendance when they won the NL Central.

The game took only 2 hours, 12 minutes, the fastest of the season for the Reds. There was a 4-minute delay before the fourth inning because of flashing lights triggered by a fire alarm.

Arroyo (9-12), who had been 0-2 over his previous four starts, retired his first 10 batters. He didn't allow a hit until Carlos Lee led off the fifth with a soft single just over the glove of a leaping Cairo at third base.

Arroyo walked none and struck out two. He needed just 91 pitches in his fourth career shutout and first since beating Washington on Aug. 13, 2009.

The Reds right-hander didn't allow a home run, keeping his season total at 44, four short of tying the National League record and six short of matching the major league mark.

Houston didn't get runner to third until the eighth and Arroyo responded by striking out pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic and Jordan Shafer.

The Houston hitters were swinging early in the count.

"They helped Bronson some with first ball hitting," Baker said.

Arroyo is 8-0 with three complete games in his last nine starts against Houston.

"Today was frustrating and disappointing," Brad Mills said. "We had some opportunities to score and as the game went on our at bats got better."

The Reds took a 1-0 lead against Wandy Rodriguez (11-11) in the first when Brandon Phillips led off with an leadoff infield single, stole second and scored on Chris Heisey's two-out bloop single.

 "Wandy pitched well enough to win," Mills said.

Cairo hit a 410-foot drive into the upper deck in left in the second. It was his career-high eighth homer of the season.

Rodriguez allowed four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in seven innings. He recorded his 1,000th career strikeout by fanning Joey Votto leading off the sixth.<

NOTES: The Astros finished their road schedule with a 25-56 record. ... Houston RHP Bud Norris' right shoulder still was sore Wednesday morning after he left his start on Tuesday in the fourth inning. His availability for his next start probably won't be decided until the team returns to Houston and he can be examined by team doctors, manager Brad Mills said. ... Reds C Ryan Hanigan and 3B Scott Rolen won't play the rest of the season, manager Dusty Baker said. Back spasms have kept Hanigan sidelined since Sept. 15. Rolen hasn't been able to completely get over arthroscopic surgery performed on Aug. 3 on his left shoulder. ... Reds CF Drew Stubbs was scratched from the original starting lineup. Stubbs was hitless in his last 13 at-bats with eight strikeouts to reach 200 for the season. ... Houston opens its final homestand of the season Thursday against Colorado. RHP Henry Sosa will face the Rockies for the first time in his career. ... The Reds start their final road trip of the season Friday in Pittsburgh with RHP Edinson Volquez seeking his first win in four starts since June 29. He spent most of the second half of the season at Triple-A Louisville.

Dusty Baker Ties Hall of Famer Earl Weaver For 21st On the All-time List

The Reds win over Houston on Tuesday was Dusty Baker's 1,480th career win.  It tied him with Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver for 21st place on the all-time list for wins by a manager.

Baker is third among active managers in wins.  Only Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland have more.

"It took a week to get," Baker said. "We could have used a win three or four days ago.  It's nice to move up the ladder but we just needed this game."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homer Bailey Pitches and Hits His Way to a Win Over His Hometown Astros 6-4

Homer Bailey lived up to his name by beating his hometown team for the fourth time.

Bailey shut Houston down again and came up with a career-high three hits and Devin Mesoraco homered to help the Cincinnati Reds snap a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Astros on Tuesday night.

Brandon Phillips also homered while Jay Bruce had three hits and Dave Sappelt and Juan Francisco each added two hits each as the Reds broke out of a slump. Their nine hits through five innings were one more than their total from the previous three games.

Bailey (9-7), who went into the game 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts against the Astros this season, set a career-high in wins while allowing six hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts in seven innings.

"He did everything tonight," Dusty Baker said."He fielded and got three hits. We needed him to go deep in the game with our bullpen situation."

Bailey is from LaGrange, Texas a little over 100 miles from Houston.

"I like to pitch in Houston more," Bailey said.

The 25-year set career highs even though he missed the first five weeks of the season with an impingement in his right shoulder.

"My number one goal for next year is to stay healthy," Bailey said. "I had some injuries that were no one's fault but if you look at my wins per start, I'd be at 15 wins over a full season."

 Houston manager Brad Mills has seen enough of Bailey for the year.

"How about that not only pitching against us but offensively too.  He's had some good outings against us," Mills said.

 Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 34th save.

 Houston starter Bud Norris (6-11) left the game two outs into the third inning with discomfort in his right shoulder. Norris allowed seven hits and three runs with two walks and three strikeouts while setting a career high in losses.

Juan Francisco led off Cincinnati's second against Norris with a single to center. After Drew Stubbs, extending his single-season franchise strikeout record to 199, Mesoraco hit a 369-foot line drive into the left field seats for his second career homer.

The Reds loaded the bases on singles by Paul Janish and Bailey and a walk by Phillips, and Sappelt grounded an RBI single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.

Houston cut the lead to 3-2 in the third on Jordan Shafer's leadoff walk and J.D. Martinez's one-out homer into the visitors' bullpen down the right field line.

 The 334-foot drive on Bailey's first pitch was Martinez's ninth homer of the season and first since Aug. 20. That matched the number of runs scored by the Astros in Bailey's three previous starts against them this season.

 The Reds regained their three-run lead in the fourth on Bailey's leadoff single, Sappelt's one-out walk, a wild pitch and Bruce's two-run single, which snapped a 0-for-16 drought.

Pinch-hitter Chris Johnson roughed up reliever Bill Bray for a two-run homer into the second deck of the left field bleachers in the eighth. It was his seventh homer of the season and first pinch-hit homer of his career.

Phillips countered in the bottom of the eighth with his 18th homer of the season into the Reds' bullpen in left-center field. It was his sixth in the first nine games of this homestand.

 "I'm just swinging the bat," Phillips said. "I feel comfortable at the top of the lineup."

The win tied Baker with Earl Weaver with 1,480 career wins and a tie for 21st place all-time.

 "It took a week to get," Baker said. "It's nice to move up the ladder but we really just needed the win."

Notes: Reds RHP Johnny Cueto will finish six innings short of qualifying for the ERA championship. Cueto, who left his last start with a strained muscle in his upper right back, said Tuesday that doctors have advised him to not throw for a while. Currently second to Los Angeles LHP Clayton Kershaw in the ERA race, Cueto needed six innings to reach the 162 he needs to qualify for the title. ... The start of the game was delayed 13 minutes by rain. ... Cincinnati's Joey Votto singled in the ninth after going a season-high 14 at bats without a hit. ... Houston's Brett Wallace is hitless in his last 27 at bats after striking out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. ... Houston LHP Wandy Rodriguez, Wednesday's scheduled starter, has been on a strikeout tear lately, with a total of 33 over his last 24 2-3 innings, spanning four starts. He needs two to reach 1,000 for his career. ... Cincinnati's starter, RHP Bronson Arroyo, will very likely see his streak of consecutive 200-inning seasons snapped at six. He has 182 innings with two remaining starts.

Stubbs Strikes Out For 200th Time

Drew Stubbs already had the Reds team record but Juan Abreu struck him out swinging for the 200th time in the seventh inning.

Dusty was not going to sit him to protect him from this dubious mark.

"We have a plan for him to work on over the winter.  You can't sit him at the end.  You have to man up," Baker said.  "You have to keep fighting and play your way through it.  The last month to six weeks have been tough on him.  He hasn't hit a home run in nearly two months. He hasn't driven in many runs."

Chapman to Be a Starter

The question of what to do with Aroldis Chapman was answered when Dusty Baker revealed that the 23-year old, fireballing, lefthander was going to pitch winter baseball somewhere in the Carribean.

"We're discussing the possibility of Chapman pitching some place to get him extended so he can start," Baker said Tuesday afternoon.

Baker wondered allowed if maybe pitchers should pitch year round instead of resting in the winter.

"A lot of guys I played with played winter ball and never had sore arms.  Pedro Borbon pitched winter ball every year and pitched nearly everyday.  All I know is that a lot of Japanese pitchers come over here and never have arm problems until they stop throwing as much as they did before."

Cueto Is Finished For The Season

Johnny Cueto's strained lat will not allow him to pitch in spite of his wishes to make another start.

"Cueto wants to pitch.  He says he feels good but the doctor said no," Dusty Baker said. "He will probably pitch winter ball maybe 20-25 innings."

Cueto is six innings short of qualifying for the National League ERA title.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wood Five Strong Innings in Reds 3-2 Loss to Houston But Needs More

Travis Wood has had a "rough year" in his own words.

"I battled with pitch location, trying to fine tune everything and then the mental aspect of getting down on yourself," Wood said.

He got a chance to leave a good impression for the off season to get himself back in the mix.  The Reds were looking for big things from him after he finished 5-4 in 17 starts with a respectable 3.51 ERA.

Wood got a chance to redemm himself late in a frustrating season and he wants to build on his five strong innings.

He started the year in the Reds rotation but spent three months at Triple-A Louisville before getting a chance because Dontrelle Willis had back spasms.

"It's been a good year because it taught me a lot of stuff.  I want to finish strong because that's the last thing people remember,." Wood said.

Wood pitched five shutout innings and left with a 2-0 lead, allowing just four hits.

 "He was good," Dusty Baker said."Especially since he pitched an inning and a half just two days ago. He gave us all he had. He started to fatigue and they had some big hitters coming up."

A tired Reds bullpen gave up the lead and tied the game in the sixth.

Matt Downs hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and the Houston Astros beat the slumping Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Monday night.

Downs greeted Nick Masset (3-6) with a 362-foot leadoff drive to left, sending the Astros to their second straight win after a three-game losing streak.

Brandon Phillips hit a leadoff homer in the first for Cincinnati, which has lost four straight.

Six Houston pitchers combined for a four-hitter. Cincinnati collected 13 hits while being swept by Milwaukee in a weekend series.

Rookie David Carpenter (1-3) picked up his first career win by getting Phillips to ground into an inning-ending forceout with runners on first and second in the seventh.

Jordan Lyles and Wesley Wright combined for a scoreless eighth, and Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 19th save.

 Phillips got the Reds off to a fast start, hitting his fifth homer in his last eight games and No. 17 overall. It was his second leadoff homer of the season.

"He is doing the Ricky Henderson thing," Baker said. "It's a game we should have won. We haven't hit well the last three games. We missed some signs, one on a squeeze by Wood. We missed a 3-0 swing sign. We hit the ball on the ground for some double plays at the wrong time.

The Reds added another run in the second. Drew Stubbs walked with one out and swiped second before Todd Frazier doubled into the left-field corner.

Baker won't throw a player under the bus or lie so, when he was asked about Wood as a candidate for the 2012 starting rotation, he gave a less than ringing endorsement.

"I don't know. There are quite a few guys. It depends on what shakes down this winter," Baker said.  "I wish he could have gone longer."

Wood to Start Alonso Designated Hitter the Last Nine Games

Dontrelle Willis visited the chiropractor and his back is better.  His back is still tight.  Travis Wood will get the start tonight against the Houston Astros.

"The decision was made for us," Dusty Baker said.

Baker also told the media that Yonder Alonso will be used as a pinch hitter the rest of the way.

"He hurt his ankle in Chicago on that inside-the-park home run," Baker said. "It has gotten progressively sore."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Maloney's Emergency Start Turns Into a Disaster Brewers Sweep Reds 8-1

Matt Maloney's emergency start quickly turned into a disaster.

 Carlos Gomez and Prince Fielder each hit two-run homers in the first and Zack Greinke breezed through seven sharp innings, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to an 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday for a series sweep.

Maloney was pressed into service as Cincinnati's starting pitcher after Dontrelle Willis developed back spasms. Maloney had planned to start Monday in place of Johnny Cueto, who left his last start with a strained muscle in his upper right back.

The lefthander, who fractured a rib while sneezing, early in the season found out an 90 minutes before the game that he would get the ball.

 "It was a little unexpected but I don't blame any of the outing on it," Maloney said. "I felt good. My bullpen was good. My stuff was good. I just got my butt kicked plain and simple."

Corey Hart added a solo shot in the sixth as Milwaukee polished off its first sweep of a three-game series in Cincinnati since Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2002. Milwaukee outscored Cincinnati 24-5 in the series while limiting the Reds to two hits in each of the last two games.

 "It was a very frustrating weekend," Dusty Baker said. "They hit a lot of balls out of the ballpark. Everything went their way. They got bleeders for hits on the good pitches and hit the bad pitches over the wall. We helped them some but they got every kind of hit."

The NL Central Division-leading Brewers went into the game with a magic number of five for clinching their first division championship in 29 years. Any combination of Milwaukee wins and St. Louis losses adding up to five would give the Brewers their first title since the 1982 team won the American League East. The Cardinals were scheduled to play Sunday night at Philadelphia.

 Greinke allowed just one baserunner _ Edgar Renteria, who reached with one out in the fourth on Yuniesky Betancourt's error and was caught stealing while Joey Votto was striking out _ before Juan Francisco lined an opposite-field single to left with two outs in the fifth. Drew Stubbs walked and Francisco scored on Devin Mesoraco's single to left.

Greinke (15-6) allowed just two hits and one run with three walks. He tied his season high with 10 strikeouts.

The Brewers wasted no time pouncing on the emergency starter. Hart led off the game with a double to right-center. Gomez then hit the first pitch he saw from Maloney 390 feet into the left field seats for his seventh home run of the season and first since July 1.

Ryan Braun followed with a slow roller halfway up the third base line for an infield single and Fielder hit the first pitch he saw 424 feet down the right-field line for his 34th homer.

 "It counts the same as a line drive to left," said Maloney of the bleeder by Braun.

 Milwaukee knocked Maloney out of the game in the second. Hart, Gomez and Braun all singled to load the bases with one out. Fielder grounded to Votto at first, who forced Hart at the plate. Mesoraco's high return throw glanced off Votto's glove, allowing Gomez to score with Braun and Fielder moving up. They scored on a single to left by Rickie Weeks, Maloney's last batter.

Maloney (0-3) gave up seven runs _ six earned _ on nine hits in 1 2-3 innings. His ERA climbed from 6.88 to 9.16.

Dontrelle Willis will start Monday against the Houston Astros if he is able. Travis Wood will get the start if Willis can't go.

NOTES: Fielder and Braun both extended hitting streaks, Fielder to 11 games (13 for 38, .342) and Braun to eight(15 for 35, 426.). ... Milwaukee C Jonathan Lucroy has one hit in his last 28 at-bats. ... Milwaukee outfielder Logan Schafer's ninth-inning single was his first major league hit. ... Drew Stubbs' third inning strikeout was his Reds' record 196th of the season, snapping his tie with Adam Dunn, who struck out 195 times in 2004. Stubbs struck out again in the seventh. ... The win was the Brewers' 38th of the season on the road, surpassing their 2010 total of 37. ... LHP Chris Narveson makes his first start since Sept. 8 when the Brewers open a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday night. Narveson pitched two innings of relief Wednesday against Colorado and retired all six batters, two on strikeouts. ... The Reds' three-game series that starts Monday against Houston wraps up their home schedule.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Volquez Is Better But Brewers Poised to Dethrone Reds With 10-1 Victory

Edinson Volquez had a disappointing season along with his Cincinnati teammates but even a better outing wasn't good enough

Yovani Gallardo struck out a career-high 13 and Ryan Braun hit his third home run in two nights to help the Milwaukee Brewers inch closer to a Central Division championship with a 10-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.

Volquez and Gallardo faced each other on opening day.  Gallardo pitched well but the Brewers lost. Volquez had a rocky start but the Reds pulled it out, then.  The tables have turned.

Volquez spent two months in Louisville trying to get straightened out.

 "Volquie had good tempo and good velocity.  He threw more strikes," Dusty Baker said.

Yuniesky Betancourt also homered and Gallardo pulled off the rare feat of striking out four batters in one inning as the Brewers lowered their magic number to five with their fourth win in their last five games and St. Louis's loss at Philadelphia.

 "My outing wasn't bad," Volquez said. "I made a mistake to Betancourt."

 The Reds were listless against the Brewers, who are close to dethroning the Reds as Central Division champions.

The loss came on the night that the Reds dedicated a statue to its Hall of Fame catcher, Johnny Bench.

"I don't think we impressed Johnny too much with our performance.  Volquez threw the ball good he just made one mistake.  The first run came on a bloop by Braun.  He was good until the seventh then he walked (Craig) Counsel and hit (Nyjer) Morgan and things began to unravel."

Any combination of Milwaukee wins and Cardinal losses adding up to five gives the Brewers their first division championship since 1982, when they won the American League East.

Gallardo's previous single-game strikeout high was 12, which he'd reached four times, including last Sunday. He threw 117 pitches, 75 of them strikes, in his six innings, giving up just two hits, one run, and two walks.

Gallardo (17-10) became the second pitcher in Milwaukee to strike out four batters in one inning when Brandon Phillips reached on a third-strike wild pitch with two outs in the fifth. Edgar Renteria struck out swinging to end the inning.

Drew Stubbs struck out twice against Gallardo, pushing him to 195 for the season. That ties the club record set by Adam Dunn in 2004.

 Milwaukee grabbed a first inning lead against Reds starter Edinson Volquez. Corey Hart led off by grounding a double between third baseman Juan Francisco and the bag. He moved up on Nyjer Morgan's groundout to second and scored on Braun's broken-bat bloop single to short center field.

Volquez (5-6) has allowed at least one first inning run in nine of his 18 starts. He lasted 6 2-3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs with three walks, six strikeouts and one wild pitch. He also hit a batter.

Volquez is determined to get back his form.

"I want to be more aggressive and throw more strikes," Volquez said.

Yonder Alonso tied the score with a home run to lead off the second inning. The 382-foot drive on Gallardo's 3-1 pitch appeared to glance off the glove of leaping center fielder Nyjer Morgan and land in the first row of seats.

The Brewers regained their one-run lead in the fourth on Betancourt's 12th homer of the season, a 391-foot shot into the right-center field seats on a 2-2 pitch with two outs. His two-out single in the sixth drove in Morgan from second, giving Milwaukee a 3-1 lead. Braun added his 31st homer, a three-run shot into the left field seats off of Jose Arredondo, in the seventh.

Mark Kotsay had a pinch-hit, three-run double in Milwaukee's four-run eighth.

Notes: The Reds unveiled a statue of Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench outside of Great American Ball Park before. He was honored in pre-game ceremonies, which included seeing a portion of the street surrounding the ballpark renamed "Johnny Bench Way," and he threw a ceremonial first pitch to his former teammmate, Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan. ... Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks didn't start Saturday after slightly aggravating the left ankle injury that forced him to miss 39 games from July 27 to Sept. 8. ... Reds C Ryan Hanigan and Ramon Hernandez both were sidelined on Saturday, Hanigan with back spasms and Hernandez with a bruise on his left shin after a foul tip on Friday. ... LHP Dontrelle Willis will take his 13th stab at win No. 1 of the season when he starts Sunday against the Brewers. Willis, 0-6 since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on July 10, has been victimized by three blown saves, including his first start at Milwaukee. ... Brewers RHP Zack Greinke is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts in Cincinnati.

UC Zaps Zips 59-14

The Cincinnati Bearcats were not very hospitable to the Akron Zips from across the state.

Zach Collaros threw for a touchdown and ran for another Saturday, and Cincinnati's defense returned three turnovers for touchdowns in the first half, setting up a 59-14 victory over winless Akron.  It gave coach Butch Jones a chance to rest his starters for its upcoming game on Thursday against North Carolina State.

Akron had lost to Ohio State 42-0 in its first game, then to Temple 41-3.

 The Zips have dropped 16 consecutive road games since 2008. Their quarterbacks had a particularly tough time in this one, combining for five turnovers. The Bearcats returned one fumble and two interceptions for scores.

Cincinnati led 59-0 when the Zips got their first touchdown of the season. Keith Sconiers got behind the secondary and caught a 51-yard pass from Moore with 12:37 left in the game. Moore threw an 11-yard touchdown pass with 50 seconds left after a Cincinnati fumble, leaving him 16 of 30 for 213 yards.

Akron actually ended up with 349 yards of total offense to Cincinnati's 342.

Akron freshman Tyler Williams out of Colerain High School returned two kickoff for a total of 40 yards.

Akron      ‡•0••0•0•14_14
Cincinnati ‡14•35•3••7_59

First Quarter=
Cin_Pead 1 run (Miliano kick), 11:41.
Cin_Bomar 54 fumble return (Miliano kick), 8:21.<

Second Quarter=
Cin_Battle 36 interception return (Miliano kick), 14:51.
Cin_Collaros 7 run (Miliano kick), 11:40.
Cin_Robinson 15 pass from Collaros (Miliano kick), 7:56.
Cin_Winn 3 run (Miliano kick), 4:54.
Cin_Cheatham 53 interception return (Miliano kick), 1:41.<

Third Quarter=
Cin_FG Miliano 47, 6:17.<

Fourth Quarter=
Cin_Poteat 7 run (Popham kick), 14:26.
Akr_Sconiers 51 pass from Moore (Marchese kick), 13:37.
Akr_A.Price 11 pass from Moore (Marchese kick), :50.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bruce Walk Off A Reminder Of Last Year in 8-6 Win Over the Cubs

Jay Bruce's first walk off home run of the season didn't have the impact of his last one but it reminded the Reds of the success they had a year ago.

Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning that lifted the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

The right fielder, who didn't even start, the game hit a walk off home run 50 weeks ago off Houston's Tim Byrdak on September 28 to clinch the Central Division title.

"They're awesome,"Bruce said of walk off home runs."It shows resiliency. It shows we haven't given up. That's my third walk off. The other two were in tighter situations but they've all been great."

Bruce's first career home run was a walk off.

 Joey Votto led off the 11th against James Russell (1-6) with a double to left-center field. Bruce connected on the next pitch for his 31st homer of the season, giving the Reds their third straight win over Chicago after losing the opener of the four-game series.

Nick Masset (3-5) pitched the 11th for the win.

 The Cubs handed Francisco Cordero his first blown save since July 10 by scoring twice in the ninth to make it 6-all. Tony Campana led off with a pinch-hit single and scored on pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano's double. One out later, Darwin Barney chopped a tying single.

Cordero had successfully converted 16 consecutive save opportunities since the All-Star break.

 "We wanted to get Homer the win," Dusty Baker said. "We figured he'd had enough. You hate to see Cordero's streak end but we'll take the win."

Reds starter Homer Bailey, who hadn't allowed more than two home runs in any of his previous 19 starts this season, gave up a pair in a span of four batters in the first inning.

"You come out there and you don't expect it to be 40 degrees," Bailey said. "I made some pretty good pitches in that inning but they hit them."

Aramis Ramirez singled with two outs and Carlos Pena followed with his 28th home run of the season, a majestic 461-foot drive on a 3-2 pitch that landed in a party area on top of the center field batter's eye.

Bryan LaHair kept the inning going with a single to center, extending his career-opening hitting streak to nine games, and Marlon Byrd hit the first pitch 414 feet into the Cincinnati bullpen in left-center field.

 Bailey settled down and lasted six innings, giving up six hits and four runs with three walks and nine strikeouts, matching his season high.

 "I found the release point that I needed," Bailey said.

Brandon Phillips hit his 16th home run, and fourth of the four-game series, in the third to cut Chicago's lead to 4-1. Chris Heisey hit his 17th homer, and second in two nights, in the Reds fourth.

The Reds scored three times in the fifth. Bailey started the rally with a one-out single. Phillips doubled and Drew Stubbs hit an RBI single just over the glove of a leaping Starlin Castro at shortstop.

Votto walked to load the bases, and Wells walked Yonder Alonso to force in the tying run. Jeff Samardzija relieved Wells and got Heisey to hit a sharp one-hopper that glanced off the pitcher's foot to Castro, whose throw to first wasn't in time, allowing Stubbs to score the go-ahead run.

The Reds reached Randy Wells for seven hits and five runs with two walks and three strikeouts in 4 1-3 innings. He also threw a wild pitch.

 "Some nights you just get beat," Mike Quade said. "It's tough we played hard.  Wells change up deserted him a little bit."

The Reds added a run in the sixth when Paul Janish drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on Stubbs' two-out single and scored on reliever John Gaub's wild pitch.

NOTES: Soriano's double was the 400th of his career. ... Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo, scheduled to start against Milwaukee in Friday's series opener, is coming off the shortest start of his career. He failed to get an out in the second inning of Cincinnati's 12-7 loss Saturday at Colorado. ... Cubs RHP Matt Garza is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA over his last three starts going into his appearance Friday against Houston at Chicago.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Joey Votto Walks for the 105th Time

Randy Wells walked Joey Votto in the fifth inning, not wanting to pitch to the MVP with the tying run on thirdbase.

The Reds have drawn 490 as a team or 21 percent.  The closest to him is Jay Bruce, who has walked 65 times.

Cueto Will Miss A Start in HIs Quest for The ERA Title

Johnny Cueto will miss his next scheduled start Monday against Houston.

The setback puts his attempt to win the National League ERA title in jeopardy.  He trails Los Angeles lefty Clayton Kershaw, who has a 2.30 ERA to Cueto's 2.31.  Roy Halladay is also in contention with a 2.34 mark.

Cueto needs six more innings to qualify because he missed the first few weeks of the season.

The 25-year old Dominican strained his right lat and left the game against the Cubs on Wednesday after 3 2/3 scoreless innings.

"There is going to be a meeting to determine how they will treat the injury," trainer and translator Tomas Vera said.

"I don't know if I will pitch again at this point.  I want to throw  but I feel sore and its painful right now," Cueto said. "As the doctor told me we will see how it progresses to see if I can pitch again.  I don't know if it will be a benefit to pitch again.  I don't want to take any medication in my shoulder just to pitch one more time.  I just want to see if I feel ok to pitch one more time.  I have to be healthy for next year."

The ERA title is a consideration.

"I would like to keep going like I was.  I was battling to be one of the top three guys.  But I have to do what God wants me to do," Cueto said.

Dusty Baker will wait to see how Cueto feels to determine if Cueto will pitch again.

"At don't know at this point what's best.  He has nine possibly 10 days in between, so we'll see," Baker said.  "It depends how he feels.  If he feels ok then possibly.  The key word is possibly.  The ERA is a consideration but if he doesn't have the chance.  We will talk to him or talk to the doctor to see what's best for him."

The Reds could use Travis Wood or Matt Maloney to fill the spot in the rotation.

"Maloney is more stretched out at this point," Baker said.  "Or we can go with a bullpen day."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Johnny Cueto Leaves Reds 7-2 Win Early

Johnny Cueto missed the beginning of the season with an injury but hopes he does not end the season with one.

Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run home run to help beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 Wednesday night but the Reds ace wasn't around to add the win to his record.

Cueto, the major league leader with a 2.31 ERA, left after 3 2-3 innings because of a strained muscle in the upper right side of his back.

The right-hander was visited by a trainer and pitching coach Bryan Price with one out in the fourth inning. After getting Alfonso Soriano to pop out, a trainer and Dusty Baker went to the mound, and the manager removed Cueto.

"(Trainer) Steve Bauman went out there the first time," Baker said. "He said he felt ok but then threw a 94 mph pitch to Soriano but I saw him grimace. He didn't want to come out but we want to do what's best for him in the long run."

Cueto, who allowed three hits, will be re-examined Thursday. He didn't make his first start of the season until May 8 because of irritation in his right upper arm.

"I felt it pop on the pitch to Soriano," Cueto said. "I wanted to stay in but it was sore and painful. I hope I don't have to miss an outing after I'm examined tomorrow."

Cueto is six innings short of qualifying for the ERA title but Baker said the strained latissimus dorsi appears to be in the muscle.

"If it was in the joint I would be something different," Baker said. "Hopefully he can get two more starts."

Inheriting a 5-0 lead, Sam LeCure (1-1) pitched 2 1-3 innings for the win. He allowed a pair of sixth-inning runs when Carlos Pena hit an RBI double and scored on Alfonso Soriano's groundout.

Casey Coleman (2-8) gave up six runs, six hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings. Since winning at Florida on May 19, he is 0-5 with a 7.98 ERA in eight big league starts and two relief appearances, a span that included three trips to the minor leagues.

"I didn't have command," Coleman said. "I felt like I didn't know how to pitch. I had a base open with (Juan) Francisco up. I've faced him in the minor leagues and he hit me pretty good. I've got to be able to pitch around him there."

Francisco hit a two-run single to give the Reds a commanding lead.  He also turned in a defensive gem, throwing out Marlon Byrd out from foul territory in the ninth inning.

 "You practice that everyday," Francisco said. "I watch Scott Rolen who has seven or eight Gold Gloves."

Hernandez's 12th homer of the season but first since Aug. 5 put Cincinnati ahead, and Juan Francisco hit a two-run double in the second.

Chris Heisey added a solo homer in the eighth off Ramon Ortiz, his 16th.

 NOTES: Cubs SS Starlin Castro, who had his career-high 13-game hitting streak stopped on Tuesday, went 2-for-3 to extend to 27 his streak of consecutive games in which he's reached base at least once. ... RHP Randy Wells, scheduled to start for Chicago in Thursday's series finale, has won a career-high five straight decisions. He is 5-0 with a 3.02 ERA over his last eight starts. ... RHP Homer Bailey, Cincinnati's scheduled starter, has an 8-7 record, but the Reds are 9-10 in his starts.


Cueto Strained Right Latisisamas Dorsi

Johnny Cueto left the game with a strained right latissimus dorsi.  He will be re examined on Thursday.

Cueto Leaves Game Early Against Cubs

Johnny Cueto left with two outs in the top of the fourth with some type of injury.

Manager Dusty Baker removed Cueto, who was leading 5-0 at the time.  Cueto missed the start of the season with tightness in his forearm.  Trainer Steve Bauman made a trip to the mound after Carlos Pena lined out.  Cueto remained in the game and got Alfonso Soriano to pop out but Bake accompanied by Bauman made a second trip.  This time Cueto returned with the manager.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Leake Ends His Season on a High Note Beats Cubs 2-1

Mike Leake ended his second season on a high note as Brandon Phillips gets his first homer to lead off a game.

Leake (12-9) allowed six hits and two walks over eight innings in what is expected to be his final start of the season. The Reds plan to shut him down in an effort to prevent arm problems.

"I'd like to finish the year but I understand,"Leake said. "The want to protect me and protect themselves."

Leake made the team right out of Arizona State University and this is just his second season working out of a five-man rotation.  The Reds thought it best to limit his innings.

He finished with 175 innings with all but seven in the major leagues.  He is the Reds leader in wins and strikeouts.

 Leake pitched a career-high nine innings in his previous start, giving up three hits against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He took a one-hit shutout into the ninth in that game before giving up Starlin Castro's two-out infield single and pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair's tying home run.

"We wanted him to have one more start after that tough ending last time," Dusty Baker said. "He's matured a lot as a pitcher and a person. He reads bats well, fields his position and is an all around player.  We will limit him to pinch running and in dire circumstances pinch hitting."

Leake was happy with his season even with the brief demotion to Louisville.

"It was a good learning year.  It was nice to go down for a couple weeks and prove I belong," Leake said.

Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.

Phillips homered for the third time in two games. He has 15 home runs this year.

The Cubs saw their three-game winning streak come to an end while wasting a solid pitching performance by Ryan Dempster (10-12). He allowed two runs and six hits, striking out eight in seven innings.

"That was fun," Dempster said. "It sucks to end up on the losing end."

After combining for 27 hits, including seven home runs, and 20 runs in Monday's 12-8 Chicago win, the Reds and Cubs produced a total of 12 hits and three runs with one homer on Tuesday.

 Phillips connected in the bottom of the first for his third home run in four at-bats over the last two games.

The Reds made it 2-0 in the fifth. Devin Mesoraco drew a leadoff walk, Leake grounded into a forceout, Phillips walked and Edgar Renteria hit an RBI single. Renteria had three hits.

Carlos Pena led off the Cubs sixth with a double. He moved to third on LaHair's soft single to left-center field and scored on Alfonso Soriano's double-play grounder.

NOTES: Castro walked to lead off the game for the second consecutive night. He has reached base at least once in 26 consecutive games. ... LaHair extended his career-opening hitting streak to eight games. ... Reds RHP Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati's scheduled starter on Wednesday, trails Los Angeles LHP Clayton Kershaw in the NL ERA race by .0044 percentage points. Cueto has gone four starts without a decision, including two blown saves. ... Chicago's scheduled starter, RHP Casey Coleman, hasn't won in nine appearances, including seven starts, since May 19 at Florida. He is 0-4 in the span.

Leake Will Make His Last Start Tonight Against the Cubs

Mike Leake has 11 wins and will look for his team-high 12th victory against the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night.

The Reds will shut him down after this.

"The organization has decided that he has pitched enough innings.  We want to save him for the future," Dusty Baker said.  "This is just his second year pitching in a five-man rotation."

Leake came withing out of a complete game shut out in his last start which was also against the Cubs in Chicago but Pacific Coast League MVP Bryan LaHair hit a two-run home run that not only cost Leake the shutout but his 12th win as well.

The Reds pulled the game out in 14 innings but Leake was long gone by then.

Edinson Volquez will get the starts the rest of the season.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Willis Didn't Have It But Francisco and Mesoraco Show Talents in 12-8 Loss to Cubs

Dontrelle Willis has pitched better than his 0-6 record but tonight was not one of those games.

Starlin Castro homered, scored four runs and drove in three while extending his career-high hitting streak to 13 games and leading the Chicago Cubs to a 12-8 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a four-game series on Monday.

Willis remains winless despite six quality starts in 12 outings this season but the Cubs pounded out nine hits worked three walks off the lefthander making a comeback after two nightmare seasons.

 "I didn't do anything right tonight," Willis said. "My location was bad. My pitch sequence was bad. It was just one of those nights."

Willis faced the Cubs in his last start and pitched seven innings allowing four runs.  The Cubs took advantage of getting another look at the former Cub draftee.

"I couldn't put anyone away," Willis said. "They had a different approach from last time. Hats off to them for that. I will take it as a butt kicking and go back to the drawing board."

Aramis Ramirez also had three hits, including a double and his 25th homer of the season, and Jeff Baker added a home run as the Cubs won a third consecutive game for the first time since Aug. 15 and matched their season high in runs. They also scored 12 in a 12-7 win over Milwaukee on June 16.

 Brandon Phillips hit two of Cincinnati's four home runs and Juan Francisco hit a tape-measure shot, but the Reds couldn't avoid their third consecutive loss and fourth in five games.

Rodrigo Lopez lasted 5 1-3 innings to earn the win despite allowing nine hits, including all four of Cincinnati's homers, and five runs. Lopez (5-6) had a walk and a strikeout.

 The Cubs pounced on Cincinnati starter Dontrelle Willis for three first-inning runs and knocked him out of the game in the fourth. Willis gave up for nine hits and eight runs, one short of tying his career high, and walked three.

Francisco got the Reds on the board with his third homer of the season, a mammoth drive off of Lopez's 1-0 pitch in the second inning. The 502-foot shot is second-longest at Great American Ball Park since it opened in 2003 to Adam Dunn's 535-foot shot to right-center in 2004.

 "He is a powerfull young man," Dusty Baker said. "That was the longest home run I've seen in a long time. When he gets his pitch, he can really turn on them. He is aggressive. You'd rather have that in a young hitter because you can calm them down. He is getting better at getting good pitches the more he plays.

Francisco spoke through interpreter, Tomas Vera

 "I hit some out of the stadium at Dayton," Francisco said. "I didn't get the ball they put a branch over my locker. It knocked it off a tree."

Vera noted that he's seen Francisco hit longer ones at Louisville.

Willis followed one out later with a vicious line-drive single off of Baker's glove at first base, and Brandon Phillips _ who got his first day off on Sunday since Aug. 13 _ hit his 13th homer, a 459-foot shot into the second deck in left field.

The Cubs regained the lead in the third on Baker's third homer of the season, a 372-foot opposite-field drive into the second row of the right-field seats. They broke the game open with three runs in the fourth, the first scoring on the first of Castro's two doubles in the game. He added a two-run homer in the fifth, and Ramirez led off the sixth with his 25th homer of the season.

 Phillips led off the Reds' fifth with his second homer of the game, giving him two multi-homer games this season and eight in his career, and rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco hit the first pitch of the sixth inning into the left field seats for his first career home run.

"It was good to get the first one out of the way," Mesoraco said. "I had hoped my first one would be more meaningful, like a walk off.  I got the ball. A guy that just got back from Afghanistan got it and gave it to me that was nice."

 Notes: Reds utility INF Chris Valaika will have season-ending surgery next week to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He was hurt in the top of the fifth inning Sunday at Colorado when his spikes caught in the dirt as he was swinging at a pitch from LHP Drew Pomeranz. ... SS Zack Cozart, already sidelined with Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow, is scheduled to have minor surgery to clean out his right ankle. ... RHP Mike Leake's start Tuesday against the Cubs is expected to be his final start of the season. Leake has logged 159.2 innings, 21.1 more than he pitched last season, and the club is trying to limit him to an increase of about 30 innings. ... RHP Ryan Dempster, Chicago's scheduled starter on Tuesday, is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts against the Reds.

 Big Red Dynasty: How Bob Howsam & Sparky Anderson Built the Big Red Machine

Top 10 List of Longest Home Runs at GABP

1 Adam Dunn 535' off Jose Lima 8/10/2004
2 Juan Francisco 502' off Rodrigo Lopez 09/12/2011
3 Willy Mo Pena 498' off Brandon Duckworth 04/17/2005
4 Reggie Abercrombie 493' off Mike Gosling 04/15/2006
5 Alfonso Soriano 492' off Brian Shackelford 05/09/2006
6 Derrek Lee 482' off Matt Belisle 04/18/2005
7 Ryan Howard 479' off Kent Mercker 04/05/2008
8 Adam Dunn 479' off John Grabow 04/06/2006
9 Albert Pujols 477' off Danny Serafini 08/31/2003
10 Adam Dunn 474' off Carmen Cali 05/04/2005

I remember the Pujols blast off Serafini.  I thought that one was at least 500'.

Francisco May Have Hit One Onto Waveland Avenue from GABP

Juan Francisco hit a monster blast to right field.  I couldn't see the ball land, if it did yet.

They have not announced the distance yet because no one saw it land.  The consensus in the press box that it left completely.

As I typed it witnesses said it cleared the ballpark completely, landing on the south side, the south side of Mehring Way.  The estimate is 502 feet, which is 167 yards or put another way three yards more than the Bengals total offense in an average game.

St X and Colerain Two Great Teams One Great Game

It was like a heavy weight fight.  Two good and talented teams giving it their all at Colerain Stadium, the cage on Friday night.

Every yard was contested.  St. X would make a play, then Colerain would make a play.  Someone had to lose and as disappointed as I am that my Colerain alma mater had its 61-game home winning streak snapped 17-14, I'm very proud of the way they played.

They will in all probability meet in the post season, St X upset Colerain by a single point in last season but that was on Colerain.  They made a few mistakes that cost them the game.

That was not the case Friday.  While there were mistakes on both side, I'm sure, they were small mistakes or forced by good play by the opposition.

Chris Valaika Will Have Knee Surgery

Chris Valaika tore the ACL in his right knee when his spikes caught swinging at a pitch Sunday in Colorado.

He singled and played defense for two batters before the pain became bad enough for him to go to Dusty Baker and have himself removed from the game.

"It appeared minor at the time," Baker said.  "You don't think of baseball as being a game that you can get hurt like that but it can happen when you're doing some things on the field."

Valaika and Zack Cozart will have surgery on the same day, next week.  Cozart is getting his ankle worked on.  He had surgery on his hyper extended elbow recently.  Cozart's ankle has been bothering him for awhile.  They waited for the swelling from that surgery to subside so that he can use crutches.

Both are expected to be ready by spring training.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bronson Arroyo Ties a Dubious Record Reds Hit Five Home Runs in Loss

Sometimes dubious records are a badge of honor and ultimately something to take pride in as difficult as they are to swallow in the moment.

Greg Maddux is 25th on the all-time list for home runs allowed with 353.  When he gave up his 300th, Maddux got the ball, signed it and gave it to his first major league pitching coach, Dick Pole.  Maddux wrote on it, "Thanks Coach.  I couldn't have done it without you."

A pitcher has to be at the top of his game to stay around to give up that many home runs.  Most of the 24 pitchers ahead of Maddux on the list have busts in the Hall of Fame.  Bronson Arroyo has allowed an even 250.  He still has work to do.

Arroyo tied the Reds team record by allowing three home runs to the Colorado Rockies on Saturday, a 12-7 loss.  The 40 long balls tie Eric Milton, who allowed 40 in 2005. 

Arroyo by his own admission has had a tough year.  He was diagnosed with a strength sapping case of mononucleousus in spring training.  He has made all of his starts in spite of a few nagging injuries. He needs 25 more innings to record at least 200 in seven straight seasons another badge of honor for starting pitchers.

What is truly amazing is that Arroyo has only walked 41 batters which is just one more than home runs allowed which indicates that he is still challenging hitters.  When a pitcher does that he will certainly give up more home runs.

On the offensive side Jay Bruce hit his 30th home run.  He has driven in 90 runs.  Both numbers are career highs and indicates that Bruce, who will be just 25 on April 3rd, 2012 is about to reach his prime years of production.  A little better pitch recognition that is gained through experience, will make him a superstar.  He already was chosen to his first all-star game this season by a vote of his opponents.  Fans will catch on to the fact that his positive talents overshadow the negative moments.

Chris Heisey hit two home runs giving him 15 in 231 at bats.  That's a pace for 45 with enough at bats, although that statistics like that seldom hold up over a longer period.

Juan Francisco hit his second, illustrating the stroke that could make him a Reds slugger in the coming years.

Joey Votto hit his 27th and has now driven in 93 for the season.  He has already walked 100 times.

Friday Gem.....Homer Bailey pitched one of his better games on Friday, a 4-1 Reds victory.  Bailey pitched 7 2/3 innings allowed one run on six hits.  His only walk was intentional.

Sunday Volquez returns.....Edinson Volquez returns from Louisville to make a start Sunday.  He had a 2.37 ERA in the bushes but has shown the control and command he needs to be the ace the Reds expect. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

St. Louis Cardinals Involved In Yet Another Unpleasant Incident

Again and again there is a baseball confrontation involving Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals.

This time against Milwaukee.  Nyjer Morgan struck out leading off the ninth inning.  While walking to the dugout, Morgan said he heard an expletive from Carpenter, who is a well documented whiner along with his manager and head whiner, Tony La Russa.

Mogan went after Carpenter and was restrained by teammate Prince Fielder as Albert Pujols joined the confrontation.

"He's having a good year for them," La Russa said of Morgan.  "He's close to the edge as far as creating problems and trouble.  It takes away from the player he's been for them with his fuse being so short and looking for things to instigate.  I hope he gets a clue. It's the truth.  He could be the player that he is without instigating."

Excuse me Tony, but what team has been involved with and instigated more problems and trouble in baseball.  Why is it the Cardinals and Carpenter involved in bench clearing brawl against bench clearing brawl?  What team constantly finds something to complain about.  Either a pitcher has too much substance on his cap or the team has a supply of baseballs that are too slick, or a pitcher has too much dirt on his hands when the pitches or the ribbon boards are too bright when the Cardinals bat, or there is too much smoke from fire works after a home team home run.  When a Cardinal star gets hit on the hand on a pitch up and in there is criminal intent.  When Miguel Cairo gets hit in the hand by a Cardinal pitcher as he did last week, it's just hardball.

The Cardinals have bitched, moaned and griped their way through all these mini controversies.  After awhile, you get the idea that one team is instigating trouble and it isn't Morgan's.

Maybe just maybe when it is one team all the time against several different teams, it is the team that hollers most and loudest that creates problems.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dayton Dragons Set Records in Midwest League Season

The Cincinnati Reds low A farm team in Dayton, Ohio set several records in the 2011 season.

They had the best overall record in the Midwest League at 83-57.  They made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.  They open the playoffs against the Lansing Lugnuts tonight at Dayton's 5/3rd Field.

The Dragons started slowly but used a record setting 48-22 second half to 83 wins.  This surpassed the 82 wins that the 2001 team recorded.  That team had major leaguers Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns.

The Dragons pitching staff turned in the lowest team Earned Run Average in Dragon history with a 3.39 mark.

Shortstop Billy Hamilton set a Dragon record and a Reds organizational record with 103 stolen bases.  The Reds organization record had been 98 bases stolen by Ramon Sambo in Cedar Rapids in 1988.  Hamilton's mark was the most in the Midwest League since Peoria's Chris Morris set the league record with 111.

Hamilton's total was the most in professional baseball.  He was caught just 20 times.

Other Dragons with top performances were:

Donald Lutz and David Vidal who hit 20 home runs apiece.
Ronald Torreyes had 99 hits in 67 games all in the second half.  He hit .356 for the Dragons.
Lutz hit .340 in the second half.  He is the only Dragon player other than Austin Kearns to hit .290 or higher with 20 home runs.  Kearns did it in 2000.
Drew Hayes led the Midwest League with 22 saves.
Blaine Howell was unscored upon in 21 of his last 24 outings.  He allowed five runs in 34 2/3 innings in that spam.
Daniel Corcino was 11-7 with a 3.42 ERA on the season.  At 5'11" and 165 lbs, is being compared to fellow Dominican, Johnny Cueto.  Corcino's fastball is clock consistently in the mid 90's.
Teenage Dominican signees Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez made improvements at the plate this season.
Duran finished strong hitting .311 with five home runs and 20 RBI in his last 22 games.  Overall, Duran hit .264 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI.
Rodrguez was bothered by injuries but hit .254 with seven home runs and 40 RBI in 79 games.

Eastern Kentucky Nearly Upset Kansas State in 10-7 Loss

Eastern Kentucky nearly upset Big 12 power Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas.

The Colonels forced five turnovers, four fumbles and intercepted a pass to deny the Football Ball Subdivision foe a single point for three quarters.

EKU spent the first half on the Wildcats side of the field.  Eastern missed a 42-yard field goal in the first half and had the ball inside KSU's 10-yard line but freshman Jared McClain, who was starting for the injured, T.J. Pryor, threw an untimely interception on a third and goal.

Moeller grad and defensive back, Patrick McClellan, forced two fumbles and made seven tackles, one for a loss .  McClellan set up the game's first score with a fumble recovery and 18-yard return to give the Colonels the ball on KSU's one yard line late in the third quarter.  McClain scored on a sneak one play later.

The Colonels gave up a 36-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter but moved the ball into K State's territory before the drive bogged down.  Jordan Berry's punt pinned the Wildcats 14-yard line.

Kansas State began the drive trailing 7-3.

It converted a pair of third down plays before time dwindled to 1:46 left in Eastern's upset bid.  Wildcat QB, Collin Klein found Chris Harper with a 33-yard pass to end Easterns upset bid.


Moeller Grad Patrick McClellan Is OVC Player of the Week at Eastern Kentucky

Senior defensive back Patrick McClellan was named the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his two forced fumbles and his fumble recovery and return.in Eastern Kentucky University.

McClellan recovered a second half fumble and returned it 18 yards to the Kansas State one yard line.  The Colonels took the lead late in the third quarter set up by McClellan's play.

Reds Win In 13 Too Late For Leake 4-2

Mike Leake now knows if he didn't already that you need all 27 outs to complete a game.

Leake really couldn't have pitched much better but a pair of pitches prevented his personal 12th victory..  One pitch was too good.  The other was too bad.

He and rookie catcher, Devin Mesoraco worked so well together for 8 2/3 innings but it was not enough.  Leake allowed just on hit, hit a batter and a third base runner reached on catcher's interference until two were out in the ninth.  He set down 14 batters in a row until Darwin Barney reached when Mesoraco tipped the bat on Barney's apparent ground out.

With two runs in on Joey Votto's double, that snapped his 0-for-14 slump, and a double play grounder by Mesoraco, Leake had just what he seemingly needed.

Leake easily got the first two Cubs out in the ninth inning but he made a pitch that was too good to Starlin Castro.  Castro didn't get enough wood on the ball and beat out the topped ball to thirdbase.  Rookie Bryan LaHair became the last hope for the Cubs.  Leake fell behind 2 and 0 to LaHair.  Then the one bad pitch Leake made that cost him his first career complete-game shutout and the victory.  LaHair blased a shocking two-run home run that tied the game.  Dusty Baker tested Leake's mettle and left him in to get Aramis Ramirez to end the ninth.  That out still made it possible for Leake to record the victory but the Reds couldn't score off Carlos Marmol.

It would have been Leak's win but it is a team game.  Cincinnati needed a key hit in the first inning when they loaded the bases against Chicago starter, Rodrigo Lopez.  Mesoraco got a hit with Dave Sappelt, who had three hits, in scoring position but Castro kept it in the infield.  The Reds didn't get that extra run that would cost Leake and the Reds later.

Brandon Phillips was thrown out at the plate when Jay Bruce's single to right was hit too hard to allow Phillips, who slipped to score in the fourth inning.

Once the game went to extra innings the drama of Leake's chance for a memorable gem was forgotten in an effort to win the contest.

The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the 10th but Baker summoned Sam "Houdini" LeCure, who has an knack for pitching out of bases loaded jams.  LeCure got a ground ball to induce a Cairo to Mesoraco to Votto, Oh My, 5-2-3 double play, Oh Boy.

Teams traded zeroes until Sappelt doubled for the second time leading off the 13th inning.  Votto again delivered the rookie with double to the left center field gap.  Cairo singled to give Francisco Cordero extra room.

Cordero made the insurance run superfluous with a routine 1-2-3 13th.  It was Cordero's 31st save of the season, 321st of his career.  He tied his childhood hero, Jose Mesa for 13th on the all-time list.  Cordero has converted each of his last 14 save attempts.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

UC Offense Explosive in 72-10 Win Over Austin Peay

Cincinnati used its entire roster.  Austin Peay learned the difference between levels of play in the NCAA.

Ralph David Abernathy IV returned the opening kickoff 60 yards and Cincinnati played downhill, while the Governors seemed to be climbing a grease slicked hill.

"We thought we could come in and give these guys a game," quarterback Jake Ryan said but the disappointment was evident as he spoke.  "This hurts a lot."

Austin Peay coach, Rick Christophel, from Reading High School and one of three brothers to play QB at the Clarksville, Tennessee University, was disappointed with the Governors.

"When you make a lot of mistakes, nine or ten penalties, three fumbles, two interceptions, you don't give yourself a chance, especially at our level. By the same token, we have to do a better job defensively at being more physical and aggressive."

The Bearcats stinging from its 4-8 season in 2010 wanted to get off to a fast start..

"It was a getting-out-of-the blocks game," Jones said.  "We talked about getting out of the blocks with a sprinter's start."

The Bearcats may have even started to fast for its own good.  The first three touchdowns scored with :18, 1:09 and 1:34 of possession time.  It was not enough time to work through its offensive arsenal.

Finally, on its fourth possession, the Austin Peay defense provided enough resistance for the Bearcats to work through its playbook.

"Austin Peay played as well as they could," Collaros, the UC starting quarterback said. "Really it was on us to execute the offense.  We got into a flow on the 15-play drive we had in the second quarter.  We got to be on the field a little bit."

The Governors knew they were over matched but game didn't sit well with its quarterback, Jake Ryan.  The late scoring did little to ease the sting.

"We knew they would have to make some mistakes but we didn't force them," Ryan said.  "We put 10 points on the board, so we REALLY didn't get embarrassed.  This one hurt a lot.  We came into this game thinking we could give these guys a game. Towards the end we started to move the ball but this hurts a lot."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Final UC 72 Austin Peay 10

UC had 561 yards of offense.  Austin Peay 277.

Two Newcomrer Score First Career Touchdowns

Freshman running back, Akise Teague and sophomore transfer QB Jordan Luallen scored on runs of four and 11 yards respectively.

Austin Peay had scored on a 21-yard field goal by Steph Stansell to get on the board for the first time.

Munchie Legaux Scores on Five Yard Run For UC

Munchie Legaux scored his first career touchdown on a five-yard run to build UC's lead to 51-0 with 7:05 left in the third quarter.

Legaux, a sophomore from New Orleans, won the backup QB job.

Zach Collaros Throws Three Second Quarter Touchdowns UC 41-0 at Half

Zach Collaros threw three touchdown passes.

DJ Wood caught a 34-yard pass for one touchdown.  Anthony McClung caught two of 8 and 29 yards.

Tony Milliano kicked three PATs

UC has 217 yards passing at the half and 134 yards rushing.

Austin Peay has 51 rushing yards and 57 passing yards.

Cincinnati Leads Austin Peay 20-0 After One Quarter

Isaiah Peed rushed for two touchdowns on runs of 40 and 13 yards and Zack Collaros connected with Kentrell Thompkins for a 13-yard scoring pass.

Tony Milliano out of Elder High School was wide right on his first collegiate extra point attempt but nailed the other two.

Ralph David Abernathy IV set up the first touchdown with a 60-yard return of the opening kickoff.  Abernathy is the grandson of civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy.

Thompkins a junior college transfer out of El Camino CC scored his first NCAA touchdown.

UC Scores on Its First Play From Scrimmage

Isaiah Pead took the handoff from Zack Collaros and raced 40 yards for a touchdown, 18 seconds into the game against Austin Peay.

Ralph Abernathy took the kickoff 60 yards with special teams coach Kerry Coombs matching him step for step.

Former Reading High School QB Rick Christophel Pilots Austin Peay Against UC

Rick Christophel somehow escaped Gerry Faust and played high school football for the Reading Blue Devils.

He went to Austin Peay and played a year at defensive back before he took over the Govenors offense as a quarterback.  It became a family tradition. His younger brothers Randy and Rob took the same route.

Christophel was a graduate assistant at Austim Peay then coached at Highlands High School in Ft. Thomas for three years.

He returned to Clarksville serve his alma mater as an assistant coach in 1979-81, coaching brother Rob for one season.  He moved to Southern Arkansas as an assistant in 1982.

Christophel was on Watson Brown's staff at Cincinnati for the 1983 season.

He was Vanderbilt's defensive coordinator in 1989, coached at Mississippi State and Alabama Birmingham for eight seasons.

Chrisophel became the 17th coach in Austim Peay's history which dates back to 1936.  His record is 15-29 as the Governors leader.

Young Reds Spank Carpenter in 11-7 Win

Juan Francisco, Alfonso Alonso and Todd Frazier, the heart of the Louisville lineup most of the year, all hit home runs to beat St. Louis and ensure the season series between the two combative teams.

The Reds picked on Chris Carpenter like he was the schoolyard snitch but scoring five runs in the second inning.  The key blow was a two-run double by Francisco.

Johnny Cueto on a rare off night couldn't hold the lead and the Cardinals tied the game.

A pinch hit home run off the right field foul pole by Frazier untied it but David Freese hit one off Jose Arredondo to knot the contest anew.

Tony La Russa was in managerial heaven when he confidently brought on lefty, Marc Rzepczynski to face five Reds lefthanded hitters in a row.  Before "his smugness" posterior hit the pine, Jay Bruce singled and Alonso hit his fourth home run of the season to foil the plot and give Cincinnati an 8-6 lead.

The Cardinals scored off Aroldis Chapman but Francisco, who has the reputation as a free swinger, worked the count to 3-1 then launched a long three-run home run off Kyle McClellan in the ninth to give Francisco Cordero extra breathing room.

The Reds are 8-5 against the Cardinals this season with two to play.  Last season the Cardinals won 12 of 18 meetings, although the Reds had the last laugh by winning the NL Central.

This game put the Cardinals another game behind the Milwaukee Brewers, who appear to be in control of the Division.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Phillies Show Dominance By Sweeping Reds 6-4

The Phillies put together five hits and a walk off Mike Leake in the second inning and Ryan Howard hit his 30th home run to complete the four-game sweep of the Reds.

The three-run second was too much for the Reds to overcome even though they scored off Philadelphia pitching for the first time in 21 innings in the third.

"Leake threw the ball pretty good," Dusty Baker said. "They got a some bloops and infield hits."

Vance Worley struck out seven in six innings and the Philadelphia Phillies completed an historic four-game sweep in Cincinnati with a 6-4 win on Thursday.

Worley allowed a leadoff double to Brandon Phillips in the third. Joey Votto delivered Phillips with a deep fly to center to break a string of 21 scoreless innings by Phillie pitchers.

The Phillies staff led by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee shutout the Reds Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hunter Pence doubled one out into the second innings. Leake walked Raul Ibanez. Brian Schneider, Worley and Shane Victorino hit singles in succesion.

"I was falling behind.  I wasn't attacking like I did the rest of the game," Leake said. "The only one that hit the ball hard was Pence.  After that, I tried to keep the ball down, out of the hitting zone."

Michael Martinez added a two-run homer as the Phillies (87-46) moved 41 games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 26, 1976, when they improved to 83-42 with a win at Cincinnati.

The home run off Jared Burton, who was making his first appearance of the year, extended Philadelphia's lead to 6-1.

Chris Heisey, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, hit a three-run, pinch hit home run off Worley to end the hurler's afternoon.

 "What really hurt was the home run by Martinez," Baker said.  "Heisey hit that big home run to make it close. We missed Heisey, big time."

Philadelphia, which had never swept a four-game series in Cincinnati, won seven of eight games against the Reds this season to improve to 30-12 against them over the last six seasons.

"There is a big time small margin for error against them," Baker said. "If you don't take advantage of chances which are rare, you don't have much of a chance. They rarely help you out with a walk.  They pound the strike zone and throw quality strikes."

Howard hit a solo shot to left-center on a 3-1 pitch from Mike Leake in the sixth, giving Philadelphia a 4-1 lead and extending his streak of consecutive seasons with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs to six. Martinez went deep in the seventh, hitting a drive off Jared Burton into the fourth row of right-field seats.

Worley (10-1) allowed four runs and eight hits with one walk. The first six of his Ks came on called third strikes.

The Phillies improved to 15-2 in Worley's 17 starts this season and have won each of his last 13, their longest streak since they won a club-record 15 consecutive Steve Carlton starts in 1972.

The Reds End a 21 Inning Drought Phillies Staff a "Coaching Miracle"

Joey Votto hit a sacrifice fly to score Brandon Phillips in the third inning.

The Reds last scored in the eighth inning on Monday.  Philadelphia pitching shut the Reds out the last two nights.

The Phillies pitching staff is as strong as 6-3.

"Their pitching staff is paid more than our entire payroll.  They earn their money," Dusty Baker said.

Former Cincinnati Reds interim manager and current Philadelphia Phillies coach had an alternate explanation, "It's a coaching miracle."

Fred Lewis Cleared Waivers Sent Outright to Louisville

The Reds needed to clear one more roster spot.

Fred Lewis was not claimed on waivers.  The Reds sent him outright to Louisville.

"We needed the roster spot," Dusty Baker said.  "You hate to have to tell somebody things like that.  Things just didn't work out the second half of the season."

Jeremy Hemida was claimed by the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

"We hated to lose him but he gets a chance to get back to the big leagues," Baker said.

The roster spots were used to put Devin Mesoraco on the 40-man roster to allow him to make his Major League debut.  Jared Burton was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and also required a roster spot.

Alonso, Francisco in the Lineup Mesoraco to be Eased In

Yonder Alonso will start in left field for the Reds against the Phillies on Thursday.  Juan Francisco will play thirdbase.

Alonso had one game at thirdbase.  Just by watching him take ground balls, he doesn't have the range necessary to be a big league firstbaseman.  No matter how hard he works at it.  His bat is major league quality but that is only one facet of the game.  Defense is very important to winning, but it doesn't lend itself to statistical analysis like hitting.  It tends to get overlooked by fans.

Francisco has a quick bat, can hit with power and has the skills to be an adequate thirdbaseman.  Francisco had some bad luck with injuries and the timing of those injuries.  His last injury was a strained knee. Francisco was sent to Arizona to rehab it.

"Since, he's come back from the injury, he's played his best baseball, hitting, defensively and baserunning," said Louisville manager, Rick Sweet two weeks ago.

Mesoraco had conversations with Sweet over the last couple of weeks, so he knew he would probably be brought to the majors this soon.

"It seems like a long time coming," Mesoraco said.  "It was the pace I was hoping for.  It is about where I wanted to be.  I was lucky to have Sweet and Corky Miller around.  They have been in the game a long time.  Every situation that I had, they've been through."

Mesoraco won't start for a few days.

"He will catch some bullpen sessions," Dusty Baker said.  "I was a September call up three times.  I know what he's going through.  We want to make sure he knows the signs.  He has to get comfortable with our scouting reports, pay attention and learn to make scouting reports in his own mind."