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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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Reds Topple Twins In Slugfest

The Reds had trouble hitting the New York Mets pitchers over the weekend scoring just four runs in 31 innings.

They took out their frustrations on former Mets' pitcher Mike Pelfrey, scoring eight in the two plus innings he worked on their way to an 11-7 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Unfortunately, Mike Leake was a little too generous in his 16th start of the season.

"I don't think Mike had his grade A command," Bryan Price said. "The key was we didn't let the game get away from us."

The Reds jumped on Pelfrey in the first inning with both feet. Billy Hamilton bunted for a single.  Ivan De Jesus Jr., subbing for Brandon Phillips, who has injuries on both hands, singled to put runners on the corners. Pelfrey walked Joey Votto.  Todd Frazier, who is closing the gap in the All-Star vote for thirdbasemen, singled to plate Hamilton.  Jay Bruce lifted a sacrifice fly to center.  Tucker Barnhart singled with two outs to score Votto.

Leake retired the side in order in the first but Trevor Plouffe led off the second with a double. Eddie Rosario's soft single to right put runners on first and third for the Twins.  Plouffe scored as Leake turned a one-hop comebacker into a double play.

The Reds got the run back in the second.  Hamilton walked and stole second and third, forcing Minnesota to pull its infield in.  De Jesus Jr. hit a high chop over Danny Santana at shortstop to reinstate the three-run lead.

The Reds piled on Pelfrey in the third.after Leake struck out the side in the top half.  Bruce doubled to open the inning. Marlon Byrd singled Bruce to third.  Barnhart singled to score Bruce.  Eugenio Suarez doubled home Byrd and Barnhart. Greensburg Indiana native Alex Meyer replaced Pelfrey.  Leake's sacrifice bunt moved Suarez to third.  Meyer walked Hamilton and De Jesus Jr.  Votto hit a line drive directly over the head of Eduardo Escobar in left.  Suarez scored but De Jesus with Votto on his heals stopped at second. Votto was forced to return to first.  Meyer got two outs but the Reds led 9-1.

Leake nearly gave it up as the Twins scored six runs to close the gap to 9-7. Tori Hunter doubled. Plouffe singled. Rosario singled for one run. Leake struck out catcher Kurt Suzuki but  Escobar doubled. Danny Santana singled. Brian Dozier hit his 16th home run . Joe Mauer singled before Leake got Hunter to ground out to Frazier to end the inning.

"I elevated some pitches and they took advantage of them. They put a nice inning together," Leake said.

Hamilton stole second and third after opening the fifth with a single to give him 40 stolen bases on the year and four in the game.  His mates couldn't get him home though.

Hamilton was back in the leadoff spot after batting ninth the last month.

"I tried to be as aggressive as I was in the ninth hole," Hamilton said. "It was fun getting four stolen bases. I got two hits and walked.  I've been swinging at too many bad pitches this year."

"Billy reeks havoc when he's on base," Price said.  "The Twins were very quick to the plate but Billy still made things happen."

The bullpens took over

Nate Adcock worked around a pair of walks to throw two scoreless innings to earn the win.  Manny Parra pitched two scoreless innings.

Adcock's only other Major League win was against the Twins in 2011 when he pitched for Kansas City.

"I knew going in that I had to pitch more than one inning," Adcock said. "I just wanted to keep the ball down and keep the game where it was."

The Reds scored off J.R Graham in the sixth.  Byrd singled with one out. Barnhart doubled Byrd to third. Suarez singled to score Byrd.

Bruce doubled with two outs to score De Jesus Jr. in the bottom of the seventh. Bruce raised his average to .243 with two doubles in four at bats plus a sacrifice fly. Barnhart had four hits, raising his season average to .308.

"It was awesome," Barnhart said. "It was my first  (four-hit game) and it came in a win. Hopefully it won't be my last. I'm just working on drills every day and trying to get better."
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"Tucker seems more confident at the plate," said Price, who has sent pitchers up to pinch hit in front of him because he is the only other catcher besides Brayan Pena. "He doesn't get too many at bats from the right side and that's his natural side.  He got one from the right side tonight by staying up the middle.  That's what he's been working on."

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. He fanned Santana, Dozier and Mauer with several pitches at 102 mph.

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