About Me

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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.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Reds' Mid-Term Report From Gary Yeats - Teacher and Coach

Many of my readers say that I am too soft on Reds.  In these pages I try to be neutral and allow the readers to decide for themselves.  I do debate them through comments and try to stimulate discussion by taking the other side.  Baseball is a game of failure.  A good hitter fails seven times in 10.  A relief pitcher goes unnoticed when he holds the opposition where they are but his name is in headlines when he blows a lead.  This factor breeds negativity.

Gary Yeats was an outstanding teacher at Fairfield High School.  He also took the Indians to two Ohio State Baseball tittles.  For the last four years, Yeats has been a special assistant to Bob Castellini in Goodyear, Arizona during spring training.  He has the unique opportunity to watch the Reds on the field every day.

The following is Gary's report on the first half of the season.  Please enjoy a knowledgeable opinion.

The BIG 162

"The Reds are halfway there! 46 wins, better than last year and as good a record as they have had in the last ten years. Despite that, Reds fans are jumping off bridges and impaling themselves with despair over the Reds season. Repeat the first half and that gives them 92 wins and a place in the playoffs. It might not guarantee a division title as 95 wins could but getting there is the big challenge. The best record in baseball does not win the World Series, the hot team in October does. See past history for proof of that. The Dusty haters are having seizures but Mr. Baker holds the ship steady and true. So lets take a look at this amazing race and peek ahead to what the fall may have in store for this grand game.


The Competiton:  Central Division
                           MLB   Rankings      Pitching         Batting        Fielding
Cardinals                                              3rd                 3rd               2nd
Pirates                                                  1st                 23rd             22nd
Reds                                                     4th                 20th             8th

What does this mean. Who knows because you can manipulate stats anyway you want! BUT- this would suggest that the Cardinals are the most likely winner of the Central Division. They have a very solid team and the best farm system in baseball. They are a force to be reckoned with. The Pirates will fade but maybe not collapse as in the past. The low rankings in batting and fielding will probably take its toll on their pitching staff. This Pirate team is better than past years. The starting and relief pitching has quality and depth. Fans can expect all three Central Division teams to make the playoffs. It would take 50 wins in the second half for any other team to make it to the wild card. Only one team is even remotely capable of doing that-Washington. Chances are the Cards, Bucs and Reds are going to be in the chase.

The Reds: The mostly injury free 2012 team has had its share of problems in 2013. Can they continue to overcome them? The Big Three of Cueto,Ludwick and Marshall
have cost the Reds at least 3-5 wins. That alone puts the Reds at 50 wins and in or very near first place at this time. If any of them can come back the Reds improve significantly. The most likely would seem to be Marshall. Ludwick will return but can he be productive? Cueto had all winter to heal but has not. It kind of looks very iffy at this point. So what can the Reds do to offset this? Unfortunately, not very much. The farm system probably cannot help at all. The budget does not allow for the addition of highly paid help. Is there hope? Sure! Mr. Jocketty is one of the best at problem solving with limited $$$$. After all, he is part of the reason the Cardinals are where they are. The Reds still believe that this could be their year. Maybe he can get Mr. C to sell some more lettuce and add some green to the payroll!

Outside help: Jocketty is brilliant at thinking "outside of the batter's box". While most fans see left field as a key limitation for the 2013 Reds, he probably does not. Paul, Robinson and Heisey have put up decent numbers in left. The Reds could live with that except for the fallen production from Frazier and Hanigan. Hanigan has been beaten up to the point that his offense has been very limited. Frazier is really doing about what he has through the minors and pro ball. If either can improve over the final 81 games the Reds will get steadier.

Wish list:  Outfield- Alex Rios CWS, 3b-Aramis Ramirez Mil. RP- Tom Gorzelanny Col. RP- James Russell Cubs.

Christmas list: Cliff Lee Phils. Walt wanted him a couple years ago but could not get him. The Reds probably still want him and probably still cannot get him! Any teams interested in doing business with the Reds want Hamilton and Cingrani. The Reds will not part with either of them.

Inside help: Defense- The Reds have a gold glove defense on the right side but Phillips and Votto have combined for 16 errors. Unbelievable. Joey leads Baseball with 10 errors. He has dropped throws, pop ups and failed to get in front of numerous balls. He works diligently at his defense so one can hope for improvement. Phillips is, of course spectacular. An ESPN WEB GEM on a daily basis. BUT Darwin Barney the current Gold Glove at 2b has ZERO errors. 16 errors on the right side has been a major disappointment for this team. Frazier has been as good as Rolen at 3b (4E) and Cozart has been steady at SS (7E). Improved defense can lead to several more wins in the second half.

Pitching: Well, it really can't get a whole lot better. A stabilized bullpen would help. When the bullpen is rested they do an acceptable job. Leake has made up for the absence of Cueto. He has been the pitcher I saw at ASU. The starting rotation is still solid but if another arm goes down it will be hard to overcome.

Baserunning: Abysmal, Horrible. The Reds kill themselves on the bases. Not just stealing but taking an extra base, advancing runners and being aggressive at the right times. Votto has again been the culprit of too many base running errors. Who would ever think you would miss your third base coach. Berry has been missed at third, Speier is doing his best and will get better but Berry was there for years. Hopefully, he beats the cancer and gets back at third. The Reds would benefit as a result.

(I have wondered about this myself.  Berry knows the league inside and out.  There have been several times that I thought a runner should have scored on a double from first or a single from second.  In last nights game with Cozart on second (no outs), Votto hit a ground single through the right side.  I thought sure Cozart would score.)

Hitting: "Its not what they do but more what they don't do."  I really do not see them getting any better. This has been going on for years and very little progression has been made. Simply put they are great at getting on base. It ends there. Scoring runs is a whole different story. Hitting with runners in scoring position is a real Achilles heel. One can always hope and hope and hope. Add the baserunning to the hitting and you get an anchor holding this team down. Just watch the Cardinals play and what a difference in this area.

So there we are. 46-35. Halfway there. Fun, excitement, frustration and sleepless nights for all Reds fans. What a fabulous way to spend your summer. Baseball is life. Day in, out.  Day after Day. Blog at you in Sept. when we make the playoffs. Go REDS! Thanks for reading. YIB-G"

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Johnny Cueto Goes On The DL For The Third Time

The Reds placed Johnny Cueto on the disabled list with a strained right latissimus. It is the third time this season the Reds' right-hander will lose time with injuries in the same general area.


The Reds recalled Logan Ondrusek from Louisville.

Cueto left the game against the Texas Rangers Friday night in the second inning.  Tony Cingrani replaced Cueto in the game and will most likely stay in Cueto's spot in the starting rotation.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pedro Alvarez Beats Reds

Pedro Alvarez isn't tearing up the National League so far this season but he tore the Reds to shreds in Pittsburgh's 5-3 win.

Alvarez entered the game with a .223 season average.  He was hitting .229 with 14 home runs against right-handers and a paltry .167 with two home runs against left-handers.  He has shown signs of coming out of his funk with hits in his last four games.  He had homered five times in his last 16 contests.


The funk may not be permanently gone but he was 3-for-4 with a home run, double and five RBI.

The Reds scored an unearned run against Pittsburgh starter Brandon Cumpton.  Shin-Soo Choo reached base on a throwing error by Alvarez in the first inning.  He stole second and scored on Joey Votto's single.

Alvarez made up for the error with a two-out single off Reds' starter Homer Bailey.

Jay Bruce hit his 14th for the Reds in the fourth.  Alvarez matched it with his 16th in the sixth off Bailey.

"I made a real good pitch to Alvarez.  He hit it out.  It was his day," said Bailey, who no-hit the Pirates late last season.

The Pirates were short of pitching because Charlie Morton, who was coming off elbow surgery, could only pitch five innings Tuesday.  The extra inning game last night drained the Pittsburgh bullpen. Bryan Morris relieved Cumpton and was required to pitch more than one inning.  Morris had three at-bats this season but was asked to lead off the seventh against Alfredo Simon.

Morris grounded a single through the left side of the infield for his first major league hit on a 1-2 pitch.

"The big blow was the leadoff single by the pitcher," Dusty Baker said.  "You don't know if he's a good hitter or not.  I can understand why they had him hitting there.  They were short on pitching from last night."

The single started the Pirates' rally.  Starling Marte followed with a single.  Jordy Mercer popped up a bunt to catcher Ryan Hanigan for the first out.  Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases.

"There were some hits but also some untimely walks," Baker said.

Baker went to the mound with left-handed hitting Garrett Jones and Alvarez due up.

Cingrani pitched last night and before the game, Baker was unsure if he was available.

"I don't know if he's gone back-to-back days this year," Baker said before the game.

Cingrani entered the game anyway.  The rookie, who made six starts for the Reds, was making his second bullpen appearance in as many days.

"Cingrani said he was ok," Baker said.  "Manny Parra said he was a little sore."

Parra was the winning pitcher on Wednesday.  It was a perfect spot for a power-armed left-hander.  The Reds needed a strikeout.

Cingrani got ahead of Jones 0-2.  Jones fouled off a pitch then took a ball.  He fouled off three straight pitches until Cingrani struck him out.

Alvarez fouled off a first pitch fastball, then smacked a double to right, clearing the bases.

"It got too much of the plate 0-1," said catcher Ryan Hanigan, who called all fastballs.  "He threw the ball great. The one pitch he missed got hit."

"Cingrani was trying to go down and away," Baker said.  "He got it up a little to a hot hitter."

The Reds scored a run off Morris to get within two runs but the NL's third best bullpen as far as ERA (3.04) kept the Reds right there.  The Pirates' relievers lead the league with 157-1/3 innings, nearly 47 more than Reds' relievers have pitched.

Are the Pirates for real?

"They've definitely made strides," said Homer Bailey.  "To be real, they usually fade.  So far they've really kept up.  They're playing really good baseball.  Their bullpen has been outstanding.  But their bullpen also has a lot of innings.  It is just going to be on them.  They have a good club and they are showing that this year but if you follow patterns, they've faded out.  It will be interesting to see how they do.  We're not even halfway through yet."

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Twitter Twits Missing Baseball's Essence

Baseball is a pastoral game.  It is a long haul. Short term results are not necessarily indicative of the success or failure of a team at the end.  There are a lot of ups and downs; slumps and hot streaks and no one or no team is immune.

Yet popularity of social media that allows the knee-jerk reactions of fans leads to an overabundance of negativity.  Because people express themselves immediately, they tweet some ignorant things without thinking them through.

Every writer gets them.  Some are just so stupid it is really laughable.

One of the big criticisms is the Reds' record against teams with winning records.

"We have some big series on this road trip," said Baker of the Reds' upcoming journey to Arizona, Oakland and Texas. "All three are either in first or second place and trying to stay there or move up."

When a writer brought up the Reds' losing record against winning teams, Baker's reaction was, "So."

"So?  We have a winning record, killing everybody else, isn't that the same?  Plus, how many games have we played against (winning teams)?  We played these guys (Pirates) 11 times (actually 10th today).  We played the Cardinals, what nine times? We had a losing record to everybody on the road too, didn't we.  They were panicking."

The Reds lost eight of its first nine road games.  They are now 18-16 on the road.

"People can find a negative in anything," Baker said.  "Now what if we were losing to the bad teams and beating the good teams, you know? I deal in the positive.  I think we're doing pretty damn good, not to be at full forces.  We're not doing great.  Our guys are doing better than a lot of teams."

Someone mentioned the Reds have the second-best record in baseball as of Thursday morning. Only the Reds and Cardinals are playing .600 baseball.

"Yeah, what the hell!" Baker said.  "What do you want?"

It was mentioned that the St. Louis writers showed us some negative tweets from their fans while the Cardinals were playing at an unsustainable .650 clip.

"That (tweets) are the worst things that have ever happened," Baker said.

Baker agreed with the writer who said, "It is an immediate reaction in a sport that does not lend itself to immediate reactions."

"In baseball, you can get pissed off every other day," Baker said.  "Look, the Cardinals are doing pretty good and they lost two or three to the Marlins and I told Marty (Brennaman) that when they went down there.  You're supposed to beat them but there's no guarantees.  They can play you tough.  We played teams tough when we weren't as good."

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Chris Heisey Is Nearly Ready

Chris Heisey is on a rehab assignment with the Louisville Bats.  The right-handed hitting outfielder who strained his hamstring on April 27, 48 games ago, is on the program used in spring training to get him back into playing shape.

There is a difference between conditioning that Heisey has been doing all along and playing shape in which the simple act of squatting in a defensive stance creates soreness.


'I hope that we have him ready by Oakland (the Reds play two games there Tuesday and Wednesday)," Dusty Baker said.

Baker badly wants his right-handed bat.  The road back for Heisey has been a long one.

"He's taking a long time.  He's been out awhile," Baker said.  "Heisey knows the signs now if he's tight or not.  If you've never been injured before, man, you don't know especially in your legs. I think it's his first pulled muscle.  You don't know when to be protective. You don't know if you're overly cautious. You don't know when you're being foolish."

Baker has been forced to use left-handed pinch-hitters against left-handed pitching.  Looking ahead, he is going to need Heisey.

"Texas is starting left-handers and we are going to need a designated hitter," Baker said.  "Everybody has been doing a good job but I need some pop too."

Heisey has four hits in seven at bats, including a double in his two games at Louisville.

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Jay Bruce Extends It - Brandon Phillips Ends It

The Pittsburgh Pirates found out paybacks are hell.

On June 2, a late-game tying home run extended a game in Pittsburgh as the Reds were trying to complete a sweep.  Garrett Jones hit a two-run bomb into the Allegheny River off Jonathan Broxton to send the game into extra innings.  The Pirates won that battle in the 12th on a single by Travis Snider.

Tonight Jay Bruce launched  417 ft. home run to tie the game at one with one out in the ninth off Jason Grilli. It was Grilli's first blown save of the season after 25 straight saves.  A struggling Brandon Phillips  singled up the middle with the bases loaded to send the Reds home happy with a 2-1 win.

Bronson Arroyo and Pittsburgh's young ace, Jeff Locke, battled for seven innings.

The Pirates plated an unearned run off Arroyo.  With two outs and the bases empty, Starling Marte tripled to leftcenter.  He scored when Arroyo, who owns a Gold Glove, mishandled a weak comeback ball hit by Russell Martin in the third inning.

Locke and relief pitcher Mark Melancon made it stand up.

Grilli threw one fastball too many to Bruce and the Reds' rightfielder took care of it,

"I was glad to extend the game until we could take care of business," Bruce said.  "It was the same exact pitch I got from him last night but I flew out."

The Reds (10) and the Pirates (14) left baserunners on all night until Phillips came through in the 13th.

Derrek Robinson legged out an infield single to third with one out.  Shin-Soo Choo singled to right and Robinson scampered to third.  The Pirates wanted no part of Joey Votto and walked him intentionally to pitch to Phillips.

Phillips was hitting .176 since returning 12 games ago after being hit by a pitch on the forearm in Pittsburgh that cost him four  games.

"He's been trying to do too much and swinging at bad pitches," Dusty Baker explained before the game.  "We've been telling him to think up the middle, to swing at better pitches."

Phillips was down two strikes but gathered himself against Vin Mazzaro.

"Tonight I tried to get back to my old approach," Phillips said.  "I had a chance in the first inning and didn't come through.  That pissed me off.  All it takes is one."

With the Pirates hoping to turn a double play and move on to the 14th inning, Phillips bounced the ball over Mazzaro's head and into centerfield to score Robinson with the winning run.

"With two strikes, you try to go up the middle.  You let the ball get deeper into the plate," Phillips said.

"That's what we've been telling him to do," Baker said.  "The middle is the biggest hole on the field.  Once it bounced over the pitchers head, I knew it would be hard for them to turn two."

Arroyo pitched seven strong innings.  Tony Cingrani (1), Alfredo Simon (1), Aroldis Chapman (1), Sam LeCure (2) and winning pitcher Manny Parra (1), held the Pirates until the Reds could score.

Pirate pitching held the Reds scoreless for 17 innings until Bruce hit the home run.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reds On TV Beat Out NBA, NHL Finals

Steve Watkins of the Business Courier has a report that the Reds are hot at the gate and in the ratings.



Monday, June 17, 2013

Leake Shuts Down The Pirates.While Four Home Runs Have Them Walk The Plank

Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier hit upper deck home runs.  The power hitters dumped souvenirs into the lower deck in leftfield.

Mike Leake may not be just the best number 5 starter in baseball, but lately, he has been among the best.

Cozart's seventh, Frazier's ninth, Votto's 12th and Bruce's 13th were the Reds' offense against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Reds' 4-1 win.

Cozart and Frazier victimized Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano, who pitched 45 innings without allowing a home run until Cozart's blast two outs into the fourth inning.

Mike Leake won his seventh game by protecting a slim lead until the sixth.  He was nicked for a run on a two-out double by Russel Martin but that was it.  He finished seven innings, allowing six hits and a walk.

Leake's ERA shrank to 2.64 as he pitched at least seven innings for the seventh time in 14 starts.  In his last two starts against the Pirates, Leake pitched 13 innings and allowed one run.

Leake is 6-2 in his last nine starts in which he has pitched 59-2/3 innings and has a 1.81 ERA.

It was just a few months ago that everyone wanted the flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman in the rotation.  Leake shut down the Pirates for seven innings.

"It (being doubted) adds a little fire to it," Leake said.  "It helps motivate me."

Baker, who has been in Leake's corner since he was signed, pointed out that Leake has matured physically and mentally.

"I was talking to Jim Maloney (former Reds' ace from the '60's) the other day," Baker said.  "He told me Leake has man muscles now rather than little boy muscles.  He's new and improved.  Don't forget two years ago he was one of our best starters.  He is still learning.  He is pitching with a lot of confidence.  He is quietly going about his business.  No fanfare no change in personality. He is just pitching."

Leake thinks the added strength allows him to keep the ball down.

"I am able to get on top of the ball," Leake said.

Versatile Sam LeCure came in to face two tough hitters.  Up-and-coming Tony Cingrani gave Dusty Baker the luxury of another left-handed power arm to face the likes of Garrett Jones, who broke the Reds' heart with a game-tying home run in their last meeting.

"Cingrani is especially tough on lefties but he's tough on righties too.  Guys don't see him two or three times.  He can get them at the end of the game.  They have been out in the hot sun.  They may not be tired but their bats are just a little slower," Baker said.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two to claim his 18th save.

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Chris Heisey Is On A Rehab Assignment In Louisville

Chris Heisey is on his third rehab assignment with the Louisville Bats in Durham.


Heisey strained his right hamstring April 27 in Washington and was placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day.

Tonight the Reds are playing its 46th game without Heisey.

This is the outfielder's third attempt at getting back into playing shape after suffering setbacks.

Heisey is 2-for-4 and scored a run for the Bats, batting second in the batting order behind Billy Hamilton.

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Big Donald Lutz Gets To Experience NHL Hockey in Chicago

Reds' rookie Donald Lutz wasn't born with a baseball bat in his hands, even though he has natural baseball talent.  The 6'3" 251 lb. outfielder spent most of his youth playing hockey.


Lutz was hit on the fly by Baseball Cupid's arrow when he accompanied his older brother to baseball practice in Friedberg, Germany.  He got a bat in his hand and instinctively used it to impress the baseball coaches.  He was 16.

Lutz was born in Watertown, New York to an American serviceman and a German mother.

Hockey was the big sport in town.

The 24-year old outfielder took advantage of an injury to join the Reds, who happened to be in Chicago playing an afternoon game the night the Chicago Blackhawks opened the Stanley Cup Finals at home against the Boston Bruins.

The hard-fought game was the most watched Stanley Cup opener in 16 years.  A wide-eyed Lutz had a great seat.

"It was an awesome experience," Lutz said. "I had a difficult time describing it to friends.  There was so much energy.  I've never experienced anything like that.  There were 20,000 people and it sounded like 80,000.  Hockey is big in Germany but I've never seen it played with that much energy."

Lutz was captured by the National Anthem.

"They stand up and clap before the anthem," Lutz said.  "It was a thrill."

Lutz is familiar with the term 'goon' and the connotation that is attached to the hockey player on the team that looks to intimidate the opposing team.

In a tweet by minor league teammate Ryan LaMarre, who played baseball at the University of Michigan that has a rich hockey tradition (former Reds' thirdbaseman Chris Sabo), Lutz was "still a goon".

"I know what it means and I'm pretty sure he (LaMarre) is a hockey fan but he was referring to the group of us players in spring training.  We would get into the games in the late inning and called ourselves 'the goon squad."

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Johnny Cueto Back - Reds Rebound To Take the Series From Milwaukee

 Solid pitching from Johnny Cueto was all the Cincinnati Reds were looking for on Sunday.

 His deft work with the bat was a bonus as was the St. Louis Cardinals' loss to the Miami Marlins that allowed the Reds to close the gap on first place.


Cueto pitched six solid innings and drove in a run with a perfect suicide squeeze in his return to the rotation and Jay Bruce homered to lift the Reds over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1.

Donald Lutz drove in two runs with a pinch-hit single, and Zack Cozart and Joey Votto each had two hits as Cincinnati rebounded after losing 6-0 on Saturday.

Cueto, activated from the disabled list Sunday, improved to 4-0 in his seventh start of the season. He allowed five hits and one run with three strikeouts and no walks as the Reds took two of three in the weekend series.

Cueto also eased the fears of manager Dusty Baker.

"We only had one worry with Johnny Cueto  - was his (shoulder) OK," Baker said. "Other than that, we don't worry about Johnny Cueto."

Cueto made his first start since a 6-0 win at Pittsburgh on May 31. He was placed on the disabled list on June 5 for the second time this season because of a strained muscle in his right shoulder.

Alfredo Simon allowed two hits and had six strikeouts in three innings of relief for his first save of the season and second in two years with Cincinnati.

Simon, who struck out all six batters he faced in a two-inning effort against Atlanta on May 6, struck out the last five batters he faced on Sunday.  He struck out Norichika Aoki with two runners on in the seventh inning.  It was just the 15th time Aoki struck out in 263 at bats.

Simon helped save his bullpen mates.  The bullpen has had meltdowns in recent weeks with close games and extra innings.

"My breaking ball and two-seamer were working really good," Simon said. "It was good to give our bullpen a rest."

Simon pitched in his third game in four days.  He logged 11-1/3 innings of his 37-2/3 season total in June.

"I feel really good right now. My arm is fresh," Simon said. "I've been running a lot; my arm feels strong right now. I run poles almost every day." (Pitchers often run from foul pole to foul pole in the outfield before games.  They refer to these sprints as poles.)

Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta gave up all five Reds runs -  four earned - in 5-1-3 innings. The slumping Peralta (4-8) fell to 1-6 in his last seven starts.

Carlos Gomez hit the first pitch he saw - and Cueto's seventh pitch - into the left-field seats for his 12th homer of the season to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.

"In the first inning, I had too many thoughts," Cueto said through an interpreter. "I was thinking too much. Finally, it was over. When I got to the dugout, Cesar Izturis said, `Just do what you normally do. If it breaks again, we'll fix it.'"

 "Johnny hung a slider to Gomez," Baker said. "That was the only mistake he made."

The Reds tied it with an unearned run without benefit of a hit in the second. Xavier Paul led off with a walk, and Jack Hannahan followed with a chopper to second baseman Rickie Weeks, whose throw bounced past first baseman Juan Francisco for an error.

Hannahan was forced out, and Paul moved to third on Ryan Hanigan's grounder. Cueto drove in Paul, who broke for the plate on the pitch, with a suicide squeeze bunt he said he didn't see.

"I thought it was going to hit me," Cueto said. "I closed my eyes."

Baker had no hesitation about flashing that signal.

"We have confidence in Johnny in almost everything," he said. "That was a situation where it was threatening to rain, and we wanted to get the lead before it rained."

Cozart led off the third with a double into the left-field corner, went to third on Votto's groundout, and scored the go-ahead run on Brandon Phillips' checked-swing chopper back to Peralta, who dropped the ball and had to scramble and settle for the out at first.

The Brewers couldn't afford such mistakes with the way Cueto was pitching, manager Ron Roenicke said.

"Defensively, we didn't play well," Roenicke said. "Offensively, we didn't have a lot of opportunities."

Bruce followed with his 12th homer, a 469-foot drive that landed two-thirds of the way up the right-field seats. He was more impressed with Cueto's performance.

"That was very good," he said. "I think everybody at this point was holding their breath and hoping he could come out of the game feeling good," Bruce said. "It looks like he did. I'm glad today went well."

The Reds added two runs with one out in the sixth on Hannahan's walk, Hanigan's double off the left-field wall, and Lutz's pinch-hit single up the middle against Mike Gonzalez.

NOTES: The Reds optioned RHP Pedro Villareal to Triple-A Louisville to make room on the roster for Cueto. ... Reds OF Chris Heisey is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Monday. Heisey has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a strained right hamstring. ... Milwaukee RHP Marco Estrada is expected to throw a bullpen session Monday. Estrada has been on the disabled list since June 5 with a strained left hamstring ... The Reds will open their first home series against Central Division rival Pittsburgh. RHP Mike Leake (6-3) is scheduled to start Monday for Cincinnati. ...


The Reds record of 42-38 is the best record through 70 games since 1995 when they were 45-25....The Reds have won 9 of 12 home series this season.  They are 10-2 against Milwaukee in the last 12 games against Milwaukee at GABP....In the last six games the Reds' relievers have an ERA of 1.00 (2 earned runs in 18 innings)...Cueto made three straight quality starts with a 0.86 ERA. Cueto's ERA for the season dropped to 2.08...Zack Cozart has a six game hitting streak including four multi-hit games. Cozart is hitting .326 in his last 22 games.....Jay Bruce's 469 ft. home run is the 18th longest at GABP. He is hitting .381 in his last 10 games...

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Atlanta Braves Scouting Report by Jim Fregosi

Reds fans think the Cincinati batsmen strike out a lot.  They do. Going into the game on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers the Reds have amassed 546 strike outs.


There are three teams that have more holes in their bats than the Reds do.

The New York Mets' hitters have gone down on strikes 553 times.  The Pittsburgh Pirates that come into town on Monday have walked back to the bench 556 times

But the Atlanta Braves have either swung and missed or took the third strike a whopping 611 times in 68 games, averaging 8.98 whiffs per game.

Former major league manager and current Braves' scout had this to say about the Braves in the pressbox on Sunday.

"The Braves had eight guys strike out in batting practice yesterday."

"I can't sit behind home plate in Atlanta anymore.  I catch cold from the breeze"

"The Braves have two guys with 12 home runs and eight RBI."

"Every time I hear whiff on ESPN, I think the Braves are on."

It is only fair to point out the Braves lead the NL by 5-1/2 games.

Johnny Cueto Removed From the DL - Pedro Villarreal Sent Back To Louisville

Johnny Cueto was activated from the 15-day disabled list to start the game Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pedro Villarreal got a major league paycheck for one day and was sent back to Louisville a little heavier in the wallet without being needed to pitch.


The Reds are going to keep a close eye on Cueto and already have a backup plan.

"It is Cingrani's day to pitch also," manager Dusty Baker said.  "Like any injury, the toughest part is the mental aspect.  You can't think about it and pitch at the same time.  You have to forget about it.  When Johnny came off the disabled list the last time, he was excellent."

Cueto admitted that no matter how much he tries, it will be difficult to keep his mind off his lat and oblique - the source of his pain.

"I will try not to think about it," Cueto said.  'I am human though and probably will think about it. It feels really good right now. As a human being you  know how we are, it is hard to put something like that out of your mind."

The Reds haven't talked to Cueto about a pitch count.

"They haven't said anything to me so I don't know; maybe 80 pitches," Cueto said.  'I'm just going to get on the mound and pitch."

Baker will limit Cueto somewhat.

"We hope he stays out of the big inning," Baker said. "The first time he came back he was a little rough.  The second time he was excellent."

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Reds Lay Goose Egg On Dusty Baker's Birthday

Many fathers around the country will get eggs served in bed tomorrow for Father's Day.

On Dusty Baker's 64th birthday, the eve of Father's Day, the Reds were shut out by Yovani Gallardo and three of his mates in the bullpen.

The Reds mustered seven hits and drew a pair of walks but stranded seven base runners while the Milwaukee Brewers scored six times in a 6-0 win.  The Brewers' pitchers were the last staff without a shutout to their credit.


"It seems like we never win on my birthday," Baker said.  "Next year I'm going to get thrown out of the game in the first inning."

The Reds seemed to be running in sand all day and there were two instances in which the Reds' batters didn't run out ground balls.

Brandon Phillips in the fourth inning gave up on a ground ball to shortstop that Jean Segura bobbled but was still thrown out.  Zack Cozart took a long time to run out a sixth inning ground ball to third.

"It was addressed," Baker said.  "I'm not going to harp on it but I addressed it right away.  Everybody is on low energy but you still have to play.  It seems like one or two times a year we have to address this."

The Reds played two extra-inning games totaling 24 innings on Thursday and Friday.   Then they had to play three hours earlier than normal on Saturday but there was no excuse.

Homer Bailey didn't have his best game either although the six runs he allowed were not a result of getting pounded.

Jonathan Lucroy singled in the second and went to second on a wild pitch by Bailey. Logan Schafer singled with Lucroy stopping at third.  Schafer was running when Bailey threw another wild pitch.  Schafer went all the way to third.  Juan Francisco hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Schafer.

Bailey had two quick innings, then Schafer doubled in the sixth.  Francisco hit a soft fly to left that skimmed off the foul pole for a home run.  The former Red had four plate appearances in which he was 3-for-4 with two home runs and seven RBI.

Schafer ended the scoring an inning later with a two-run double.

Bailey pitched seven innings to help save his bullpen.

"He wanted to go back out for the eighth because that's the kind of teammate he is," Baker said.  "I told him no.  We had a couple guys that could pitch.  J.J. Hoover and Manny Parra pitched scoreless innings.

"I made a couple mistakes that they hit down the line, then a couple good pitches that they put into play," Bailey said.  "It was just their day.  It is tough to swallow.  The ball down the line was in the air 40 seconds, then went out by two feet."

The Reds got nothing off Gallardo but singles spaced far enough that there were no real threats.

"When he is on, he's as tough as they get," Baker said.

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Johnny Cueto Will Pitch Sunday - Tony Cingrani May Stay


Dusty Baker confirmed that Johnny Cueto will come off the 15-day disabled list as scheduled and make the start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.


The Reds will make another move tomorrow but are keeping an extra pitcher around for the Saturday evening game.

"We need bodies," Baker said.

Baker was asked point blank whether the Reds would keep Cingrani around when Cueto comes off the DL. Cingrani was unable to make the emergency start the June 5 game because he had just pitched two days before.

Cingrani is 3-0 in his starts as Cueto's fill-in.

"I will let you know tomorrow," Baker said. "There's a chance."

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Jonathn Broxton On The DL - Pedro Villarreal Recalled

The Reds tried to avoid using Jonathan Broxton in Chicago but were forced to rely on his strained right elbow during a 14-inning game on Thursday.


There is no structural damage. Rest is required.  Broxton could be throwing again in three to four days.

"It came out better than we thought," Dusty Baker said.  "He just needs rest.  We are in a situation were we can't afford to be short.  We wanted to avoid using Broxton in Chicago.  We didn't want to say anything.  I think we give too much information to the opposition. I have to eat the criticism.  I didn't want to send him out there but we were assured by the medical staff beforehand that we couldn't make it worse by pitching him."

Villarreal made an emergency start against the Colorado Rockies on June 5 and was sent back to Triple-A Louisville the next day.  Villarreal was the losing pitcher in the Reds' 12-4 loss.  He last pitched on Monday against Durham, pitching six innings. Villarreal allowed four runs on five hits and two walks.  He threw 103 pitches.

"We need bodies," Baker said.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Reds Walkoff With a Win Jay Bruce Ends It

Jay Bruce hit an opposite field home run off Burke Badenhop to give the Reds a 10-inning, 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.


Not only did the homer win the game that allowed the Reds to get closer to the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost in Miami, it saved the Reds' aching bullpen.

Already short two pitchers from the 14-inning 6-5 loss to Chicago on Thursday, Bruce's fifth career walkoff home run was timely.

"Yesterday was a little disheartening," Bruce said.  "We used a lot of people.  That never gets old hitting one to win a game and have your teammates waiting for  you at home plate.  After yesterday this was a little sweeter."

The 7-2/3 innings authored by Bronson Arroyo helped save the overworked Reds' relievers.

However, the Reds were starved for offense against former teammate Kyle Lohse.  The Reds scored in the first inning when Shin-Soo Choo doubled, stole third and scored on a single by Brandon Phillips. Phillips collected his 55th RBI of the year.

Zack Cozart and Ryan Hanigan singled to start the second inning.  Arroyo bunted Hanigan to second.  Choo reached on an error by secondbaseman Scooter Gennett's error, one of three Milwauke suffered.  Choo was given credit for the RBI..

Gennett, a Cincinnati native who grew up in Sarasota, Florida made up for his error with a home run off Arroyo in the third.  Milwaukee tied the game in the sixth but threatened to break it open.  With one out, Aramis Ramirez singled off Arroyo.  Todd Frazier let a ground ball by Yuniesky Betancourt get by him for an error. Logan Schafer singled to load the bases.  Martin Maldonado was hit by a pitch to force home a run. Arroyo got Gennett to pop to shallow left and got Lohse to hit into a fielder's choice to escape.

'I was going for the double play," Arroyo said.  "I didn't want to leave it over the middle of the plate. I'd been pitching him away so I tried to go in on him.  I wanted to make sure I got it in."

The Reds regained the lead in the bottom of the inning against Lohse.

Frazier singled to end an 0-for-12 slide. He took off early from first and Lohse threw over but Betancourt's throw was behind Frazier and went into leftfield.  Frazier went to third. Jack Hannahan, who was giving Joey Votto a much needed rest at firstbase, delivered Frazier with a sacrifice fly.

Arroyo, working to go as deep as possible, had no one on with two outs in the eighth but gave Maldonado's third home run of the season.

'I didn't want to walk him with another lefty coming up," Arroyo said.  "I got too much of the plate.  I felt as good as I have all year.  I could have probably gone another four innings.  I know the bullpen is tired but you can't go deep into the game a lot of times, just because you want to.  I was lucky that I got some quick outs early on."

Gennett collected his third hit of the game with a single following Maldonado's blast. Juan Francisco, the former Reds' prospect, beat the Reds with a grand slam home run on May 8 as a member of the Atlanta Braves.  This time he dumped a single into centerfield.  Arroyo walked Norichika Aoki to load the bases.

Dusty Baker went to a struggling Sam LeCure, who had given up two leads this week, including the game Thursday.  This time LeCure got Jean Segura to pop to Phillips to end the threat.

"I feel like I'm back on track," LeCure said.  "It's been a rough week.  You don't really lose confidence but it feels good to maintain the trust of the manager and your teammates."

Bruce delivered the game with his 11th home run of the season.  It was the fifth time in his career that he has ended a game with a winning home run.  The most prominent was the walk-off home run he hit off Tim Byrdak to clinch the 2010 division title.

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Dusty Baker Will NOT Pitch Aroldis Chapman More Than One Inning

The days of Goose Gossage and Rollie Fingers are gone.  There are no closers that pitch more than one inning in baseball; not in Cincinnati or even New York at Yankee Stadium.

Mariano Rivera used to do it but baseball and the handling of bullpens has changed dramatically.  Dusty Baker and his top pitching advisors Bryan Price and Mack Jenkins are going to experiment with Aroldis Chapman to buck the trend.


David Weathers was the last Reds' closer to routinely pitch multiple innings for saves.  Weathers saved 33 games in 2005 and pitched more than one inning in 11 of them.

"Number one a pitcher needs a rubber arm," Baker said. "Number two he has to be able to warm up quickly.  Chapman is like a sports car. It takes him awhile to warm up.  It's not like my little truck where I can just turn the key and go.  If I used him in that game yesterday (14 inning loss to Chicago on Thursday) I would have lost him for a weekend."

Critics were boisterous after the loss to the Cubs in which Baker did not use Chapman.

"I had him warming up three times because it looked like we might have the lead," Baker said.  "If you use him in the eighth we would have had to get him up in the beginning of the seventh."

Baker was blamed for ruining the careers of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior when both played for Baker with the Cubs.  Neither pitcher blame Baker;  in fact Prior was signed to a minor league contract by the Reds at Baker's request this spring.

"I've been tarred and feathered for overusing pitchers.  Why would anyone insist that I do that with Chapman? We have to figure out a way to bridge the gap to get to Chapman," Baker said

Broxton, the losing pitcher in Chicago, has been hurting for days.  He did not appear in the four games prior to Thursday.  He was the Reds' last possible choice in a game that theoretically could have gone several innings longer.

"That was a bad situation," Baker said.  "Even if we won it was a bad situation.  It puts even more pressure on Bronson (Arroyo)." Arroyo started the weekend series with the Brewers. "We wanted to get another inning out of Latos but his arm was sore so we took him out.

Broxton was examined on Friday.  The results of the examination are not available.

"We were trying to hold out until we came back here to examine Broxton.  We wanted to keep that quiet,"  Baker said.

The recent troubles with Sam LeCure have led to a couple of late inning meltdowns.

"He was so good for awhile," Baker said.  "You're not going to go a whole year in the big leagues without getting hit some.  He made a bad pitch to (Alphonso) Soriano, when he singled and was thrown out at second.  He made some close pitches to (Nate) Schierholtz, who walked. Then he jammed the shit out of (Darwin) Barney and he blooped a single.  Nobody feels worse than LeCure or Broxton.  Sometimes a pitcher can make a good pitch and not get good results."

Johnny Cueto thinks that he will start the game on Sunday.  He was hurrying out to throw when reporters asked him.

"I think I will," Cueto said.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Marty Brennaman on Votto Driving in Runs

Mary Brennaman made the statement on last night's broadcast that he doesn't understand how the Reds are winning at the pace they are when Joey Votto has only driven in 29 runs.

"With all due respect to Votto's walks, he's paid to drive in runs, not walk," Brennaman said.  "They ask me to compare Miguel Cabrera.  There's no comparisaon.  Cabrera will expand the strike zone with a runner on second or third to d\rive in runs.  That's why he has 69 runs batted in."


If Brennaman is suggesting that Votto swing at pitches out of the strike zone would be good for the Reds' offense, he might want to take a closer look.

The Reds are third in the National League with 279 RBI.  Brandon Phillips with six RBI last night is one off the pace in the league.  Jay Bruce is tied for sixth in the league with 43.

Also, Votto has scored 50 runs second in the league to Carlos Gonzalez' 51 runs scored.

The Reds' offense is producing without Votto getting into the habit of swinging at pitches out of the strike zone with these other benefits, including making the pitcher work harder.

Baseball is a team game.  The Reds are taking what the pitcher gives them.  If they want to pitch around Votto, fine.  The hitters behind the Reds' best hitter are making the pitchers pay.

Also, Todd Frazier has driven in 34 runs.

For a good in-depth analysis that illustrates the point, please read Bill Peterson's article on LAbigleagues.com


(Bill Peterson covered the Reds for the Cincinnati Post for many years.)

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Tony Cingrani Back With the Reds

Tony Cingrani was summoned from Louisville to start for the Reds against the Chicago Cubs.


Infielder Henry Rodriguez was optioned back to Louisville.

The expected move was made official before the Tuesday night game in Chicago.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cardinals Add Come-From-Behind and Extra-Inning Wins to the Resume At Reds Expense

The Cardinals passed two tests with its first extra-innning win of the year.


With the best offense in the National League and the second best team pitching staff, the Cardinals have rarely had to play from behind.  They erased a pair of two-run deficits in a 10-inning, 11-4 win.

"We've has some of those (extra inning)games go the wrong way," Cardinal manager Mike Matheny said. "There have been quite a few times we've come back but not all the way."

 Matt Holliday's grand slam capped a seven-run 10th inning to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 11-4 on Sunday night.

J.J. Hoover (0-5) walked Allen Craig to lead off the 10th. One out later, David Freese singled Craig to second, extending his career-best hitting streak to 19 games, tied with San Francisco's Marco Scutaro for the longest in the National League this season.

Daniel Descalso followed with his RBI double off the left field wall. Matt Carpenter added two insurance runs with a bases-loaded single before Holliday hit his homer _ a 464-foot shot into the left field seats off Curtis Partch, who was making his major league debut. The homer was Holliday's 10th of the season.

 "It's hard not to be disappointed," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We have a lead in the late innings. We have to find a way to hold them."

 "These guys are never out of a ballgame," said Arroyo, who started and went six innings before leaving after his right leg stiffened up, the result of getting smacked on the knee by David Descalso's sharp one-hopper to end the fourth. "Against some teams, when you lead, 4-2, in the late innings, you feel like the game's over. This team fights you _ the whole lineup. Every guy in the lineup has a hitting streak. It's not easy to navigate nine innings."

 Descalso was in the game to give Pete Kozma a breather but he's managed some big hits for St. Louis.

"Descalso has been hitting the ball well," Matheny said. "It's hard to do for a guy who isn't getting regular at bats."

His clutch hit put the Cardinals on top for the first time in the game.

"We haven't had to come back much this year," Descalso said. "Most of these guys have been around when we've had to come back. I don't hit many that far, that way.  I was just hoping I got enough of it."

Trevor Rosenthal (1-0) had four strikeouts in two perfect innings to get the win. The victory meant that the Cardinals have now either won or split 13 straight series.

The Reds grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first. Shin-Soo Choo led off with an opposite-field double into the left-field corner and moved to third on Derrick Robinson's sacrifice bunt. After Joey Votto walked, Brandon Phillips nudged a half-swing bloop single into short right field to drive in Choo and send Votto to third. Votto scored on Jay Bruce's sacrifice fly.

St. Louis tied it in the fourth. Carlos Beltran led off with his 14th home run of the season, a 409-foot blast to center field on a 3-1 pitch. Holliday followed with a double and scored one out later on Yadier Molina's opposite-field double into the right-field corner.

A two-run fifth gave the Reds a 4-2 lead. Choo led off with a single to right and Robinson was nicked by a pitch while squaring to bunt. Votto struck out and Choo moved to third on Phillips's fly ball to center field before Bruce lined a two-run double into the right-field corner.

"I felt the first guy got on every inning," said Lance Lynn, who would have tied teammate Adam Wainright for the team and league lead in wins. "It was a grind. I threw every thing to Bruce. I put the fastball inside where I wanted but he got the bat on it somehow. It was a good piece of hitting."

The Cardinals jumped all over reliever Sam LeCure to tie the score again in the seventh. Jon Jay led off with a single, his third hit of the game, and went to third on pinch-hitter Matt Adams's double to center that Choo got a glove on but couldn't hold. Jay scored and pinch-runner Shane Robinson went to third on Carpenter's single. Beltran greeted reliever Alfredo Simon with a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Carpenter extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games.

Notes: Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook, on the disabled list since May 9 with right elbow inflammation, started for Single-A Peoria on Sunday, perhaps the last step toward being activated. Westbrook could be ready to pitch in "4-5 days," manager Mike Matheny said. ... St. Louis RHP Chris Carpenter, who's missed the entire season with a right shoulder injury, is scheduled to pitch "lengthened" bullpen sessions and face batters when the Cardinals return from their current road trip, Matheny said. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was 1-for-7 in his first two games since missing four after being hit in the left forearm with a pitch. The area remains swollen. "It's still (messed) up," Phillips said. "I can catch the ball OK, but handling the bat is tough. I'm going to play through it. It is what it is."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Derrek Robinson Back in the Lineup For the Reds

Dusty Baker is not superstitious.  Although the Reds scored more than two runs against St. Louis for the first time in seven tries with Robinson in the two hole, other factors affected Baker's decision.


"Sometimes these moves work," Baker said. "I've got Arroyo on the mound. We need more outfield defense. Plus (Lance) Lynn doesn't give up many runs so we may need to manufacture some runs.  In Chicago, a smaller ballpark, I'll need some power and go back to X (Xavier Paul). Then Robinson will play again on Wednesday against (Travis) Wood.  Every body brings something to the table about what we may need that night."

Robinson has made 11 starts, nine in leftfield and two in centerfield. On Saturday, Robinson hit a pair of doubles against the Cardinals and scored the go ahead run.  He is hitting .421 in his last eight appearances.

Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall are progressing.

"If Johnny were having a set back, I would have heard about it.  He seems happy.  I can pretty much tell about him by looking at him.  I talked to Marshall and he's getting better.  He is going with us to Chicago," Baker said.

The Reds will spend the next four games in Chicago beginning with a night game Monday.  They play at night again on Tuesday, then follow with afternoon games on Wednesday and Thursday.

"It is going to be a long night then going to Chicago," Baker said.  "Luckily, it's a night game."

The Cubs play mostly day games at Wrigley Field.  The Sunday meeting with the Cardinals was originally scheduled for 1:10 but was pushed back to 8:00 pm to accommodate the National Game of the Week broadcast.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Reds Get the Call to Beat St. Louis

The Cardinals thought the game should have gone longer but Cincinnati got a favorable call at firstbase to end it too soon for their liking.

Carlos Beltran, representing the potential go-ahead run, was called out when Reds' firstbaseman Joey Votto had to stretch to reach Todd Frazier's throw.

Mat Latos turned in seven solid innings and the Cincinnati Reds broke out of their slump with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.

"We should have had one more batter at least," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said after questioning firstbase umpire Phil Cuzzi's call.  "It looked obvious from the dugout.  I'm surprised the home plate umpire or the secondbase umpire didn't see it."

Devin Mesoraco homered and drove in two runs, and Jay Bruce also homered as the Reds snapped a three-game losing streak and scored more than two runs against St. Louis for the first time in the last seven games between the teams.

Latos (6-0), who got the decision in Cincinnati's last win over St. Louis on April 29, allowed eight hits and two runs with no walks and five strikeouts against a Cardinals team that went into the game leading the National League in hitting.

Latos has started each of the Reds' three wins against the Cardinals.

The Reds, who'd lost five of their last six games against St. Louis, scored four against St. Louis rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons. He gave up six hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 5-1-3 innings before a sellout crowd of 40,740 at Great American Ball Park.

"Every time we face Latos he seems different," Beltran said. "He mixes it up pretty good.  He kept me off balance.  When a pitcher can do that most of the time he is going to be successful."

Beltran had the best view of the final play of the game.

"He (Votto) was off but I guess the position the umpire had, he couldn't see," Beltran said. "I guess he made his decision based on the ball getting there before me. There is nothing we can do about it now. It's over."

Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman allowed one hit and hit a batter in the ninth while earning his 16th save.

The score was 2-2 when Derrick Robinson, a rookie outfielder making his first career start in the No. 2 slot in the batting order, led off the sixth with a double down the right-field line. Votto followed with a ringing double to straightaway center field. Robinson scored the go-ahead run, and Votto went to third on shortstop Pete Kozma's errant throw to the plate.

Votto couldn't score on Brandon Phillips' groundout to a drawn-in Kozma or on Bruce's swinging bunt infield single. Todd Frazier walked to load the bases, and Mesoraco grounded a single through the hole into left field for a 4-2 lead.

The Cardinals used fundamentals to take a 1-0 lead in the second. Yadier Molina lined Latos' first pitch to right for a double, went to third base on David Freese's fly out to deep right and scored on Jon Jay's broken-bat groundout to second.

Bruce tied it in the bottom of the inning with his 10th homer of the season, a 382-foot solo shot into the right-field bullpen on a 1-0 pitch with one out.

Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig both extended hitting streaks while giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead in the third. Beltran extended his to nine games with a one-out double to left-center field and moved to third on Matt Holliday's groundout to second. Craig hit a slow bouncer up the middle that shortstop Zack Cozart fielded behind second base, but his hurried throw took Votto off the bag, allowing Beltran to score. Craig was credited with an infield hit that gave him a 12-game hitting streak.

Mesoraco tied it 2-2 in the fifth with his third homer of the season and first since May 21, a 382-foot drive into the right-center field seats on a 1-0 pitch from Lyons.

Lyons had given up one home run in his first 22-2/3 innings before Bruce connected.

"For the most part I threw the ball pretty well," Lyons said. "I got the ball elevated a little bit and they put the ball in the air. The mistakes I made were obvious; they turned what could have been a good outing into a subpar outing real quick."

NOTES: The Reds called up right-hander Curtis Partch from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday and optioned RHP Logan Ondrusek to the Bats, one day after Ondrusek gave up four hits and four runs in one inning of relief during Cincinnati's 9-2 loss to St. Louis. ... Beltran was back in the St. Louis lineup one day after leaving in the sixth inning with a sore quadriceps. ... Cardinals' 2B Matt Carpenter wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 17 games, leading off the top of the first with a single to left. ... 3B David Freese led off the fourth with a single, extending his career-high hitting streak to 18 games, the longest active streak in the majors. ... Bruce's 39 home runs off left-handed pitchers over the last four seasons leads all left-handed batters.

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