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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reds Fall Off Pace

The law of averages caught up to Mike Leake and the Reds.

Leake was on a roll coming into the game with a career-high scoreless innings streak that reached 21-1/3 innings with a scoreless first.  The Mets had dropped six straight to the Reds dating back to last season.

Daniel Murphy put together a 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a three-run, back-breaking home run to reverse the karma.

Leake's start tied the shortest of his career. He exited the game after 1-2/3 innings.

Jon Niese made the runs stand up by scattering eight hits and two key double plays.

"Niese pitched an outstanding ballgame against us.  We had a couple moments where we could have got back in it but we hit into double plays.  We have to find a way to pick up those runs." Baker said.  "Leake hasn't had a start like that in a while.  Anyone is capable of a bad start."

Leake escaped a first inning threat.  Eric Young singled to open the game.  One out later David Wright singled, sending Young to third.  Leake struck out Lucas Duda swinging and got Juan Lagares to ground out.

The Reds looked like they would put an early rally together in their half.

Shin-Soo Choo singled.  Brandon Phillips singled Choo to second.  Joey Votto was called out on strikes.  Ryan Ludwick, who had a tough night on Monday, singled to center.  Lagares charged the ball hard and threw home.  Choo was running home but the throw was on target and in time.  Choo was the second out.  Jay Bruce struck out looking.

"You had to send Choo there," Baker said.  "It was a big play.  There aren't too many centerfielders that can throw you out on a ground ball.  He made a heck of a throw.  It was good to see Luddy (Ryan Ludwick) swing the bat better."

Mike Baxter doubled to open the second.  One out later Wilfredo Tovar singled to score Baxter as Choo's throw home was late.  Tovar took secondbase.  Niese singled but Bruce nailed Tovar at the plate.  Leake got a break when Young's fly to deep left center bounced out of play to keep Niese from scoring but Murphy fouled off four two strike pitches before depositing the 10th pitch of the at-bat into the right-field bleachers.

"One bad pitch can change the game," Leake said.  "I wasn't making too many good ones."

The bullpen with Zach Duke, Logan Ondrusek, J.J. Hoover, Sean Marshall and Alfredo Simon gave the Reds a chance to come back.  They combined to blank the Mets on two hits the rest of the game.

It was a key moment for Marshall because he passed the test of pitching in back-to-back games.  He came back from the disabled list on September 15 and retired all seven batters he faced until he hit Duda with a pitch. Marshall got Lagares to hit into a force play.

The Reds scored a run in the second.

Todd Frazier opened the inning with a double.  He advanced on two ground outs with Devin Mesoraco picking up the RBI with a ground out to shortstop.

Cincinnati scored again in the fifth.

Choo's line drive to center was misplayed by Lagares into a triple.  Phillips walked but Votto hit a hard ground ball up the middle that Tovar turned into a double play.

Niese finished with seven innings.  He allowed eight hits and a walk but just the two runs.

Starting with Votto's double play, 12 Reds went down in order.  The only runner was Frazier, who struck out but reached first when the pitch in the dirt got away from the catcher d'Arnaud.  Fittingly, Vic Black earned his first career save when Zack Cozart bounced to the mound.  Black turned it into a 1-6-3 double play.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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