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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.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

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.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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