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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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cubs Comeback Evens Series

Taylor Teagarden the Cubs' third catcher looked terrible in his first two pinch hit assignments.

The 31-year old journeyman struck out on six pitches in which he meekly waved at the third strike both times. Against one of the least hittable pitchers in the game, Aroldis Chapman, Teagaurden laced a single up the middle to score Anthony Rizzo with the winning run in the 6-5 comeback win.

"We went with Chappy's best pitch," said Reds' catcher Brayan Pena. "It was a good pitch. In that situation we have to go with his 100 mph fastball. He (Teagarden) just got a good hit."

Rizzo was on second base after his bid to drive in the winning run was thwarted by a strong throw by Marlon Byrd to nail Dexter Fowler, who opened the inning with a single, at home plate.

"We made some great plays too," Bryan Price said. "Marlon's throw to the plate kept them from scoring then."

The Cubs argued that Pena blocked the plate but replay officials in New York found Pena innocent.

"It's tough," Pena said. "We were taught to secure the ball and protect the plate. It happens so fast. It's in the back of your mind about leaving room to slide but you can't think about it while it is happening. You just go back to what you've been taught. You try to get into position every time the ball is hit to the outfield.  I thought I did the right thing but they still challenged it."

Reds' manager Price ordered Jorge Soler walked intentionally to bring up the pitchers' spot in the batting order but the Cubs' last position player spoiled the strategy.

"We had to get to the pitchers spot and get Rondon out of the game," Price said. "It was their last position player and we would have an advantage if we got out of the inning."
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Jason Motte allowed a two-out single to Eugenio Suarez but struck out Ivan De Jesus Jr. to seal it.

The Cubs erased a five-run early lead to put themselves in position to win.

The Reds put together another big inning in the second inning of game II against Dallas Beeler but the Cubs answered against Tony Cingrani.

The Cubs missed a silver opportunity in the first when Fowler doubled to lead off the game.

.The Reds missed a golden opportunity when Billy Hamilton reached on a bunt single and sprinted to third on Joey Votto's single.  The usually reliable Todd Frazier lifted a fly to shallow centerfield.  So shallow that even Hamilton wouldn't run on Fowler.  Jay Bruce hit the ball very hard but Addison Russell was able to glove it and start an inning ending double play.

The Reds got another chance off Beeler in the second inning. Brayan Pena singled. Marlon Byrd walked. Eugenion Surarez singled to load the bases.  Ivan De Jesus Jr. drove in a run with a solid single.  Castro botched Cingrani's double play grounder for an error that allowed Byrd to score. Hamilton doubled in two runs. Votto was walked intentionally.  Frazier again popped up for the first out.  Bruce grounded out to third to drive in Cingrani for his 600th career RBI.  Pena bounced out to end the inning.

The Cubs were undaunted against Cingrani, who made his first start of the season and first appearance since June13..

Jonathan Herrera doubled to leftcenter. Fowler struck out but Castro doubled in Herrera. Cingrani hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. Jorge Soler walked to load the bases.  Former Red Chris Denorfia doubled to cut the Reds' lead to 5-3. Russel struck out but Kris Bryant, batting for Beeler singled on a two-strike pitch to tie the game.  Pedro Villarreal kept the score tied getting Herrera to fly out.

"Cingrani started to elevate the ball," Price said. "He fell behind 3-0 to Bryant."

Both bullpens took over.

Travis Wood, Pedro Strop and Rafael Soriano kept the Reds in check on four hits.

Villarreal pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball to save the bullpen.

"Villarreal gave us exactly what we needed," Price said. "He got us to Diaz and Chapman with a chance to win the game."

Jumbo Diaz was entrusted with the tie game in the eighth inning.

The Cubs' Hector Rondon escaped another jam in the bottom of the eighth.

With one out, pinch hitter Skip Schumaker beat out a slow roller.  Hamilton's third hit a double to the right centerfield gap put the Reds in business.  Cubs' manager Joe Maddon ordered Votto walked for the second time in the game. Votto reached base for the fifth time in the game. Frazier, who left stranded in all four previous at bats was determined to drive in the go-ahead run. Frazier lined one down the thirbase line, just foul. The Reds' All-Star lined a two-strike pitch up the middle.  The ball off Rondon so hard that firstbaseman Rizzo fielded it on the fly with enough time to force Schumaker at the plate.  Bruce flied out to left to leave the bases harmlessly loaded.

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