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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, May 5, 2016

Reds Boil Brewers Bullpen Extends Streak

The Reds jumped all over Chase Anderson before the echo of the Star Spangled Banner faded from the Ohio River Valley.  Alfredo Simon was the first Reds' starter to pitch into the eighth inning in a 9-5 win.

The bullpen allowed a run for the 23rd straight game.

Zack Cozart singled start the bottom of the first after Reds' starter Alfredo Simon set down the Milwaukee Brewers in order in the top half.  Billy Hamilton, in a new spot of the batting order, doubled off the glove of Kirk Nieuwenhuis.  Joey Votto walked.  Brandon Phillips hit a ball into the gap in left center that Nieuwenhuis ran down as Cozart scored.  Jay Bruce hit his fifth home run of the season on the first pitch. Of Bruce's 213 career home runs, 34 have come against the Brewers.  With two outs, Adam Duvall reached second on a throwing error.  Tucker Barnhart singled Duvall home.

Phillips hit a two-run home run, his third of the season and second in as many days to put the Reds ahead 7-0 after two innings.

Simon had three straight starts of four innings and fewer and was 0-3. He allowed one earned run in five innings in his first start of the season but was the victim of a blown save. Against the Brewers, Simon allowed two hits but a pair of double plays allowed him to face the minimum of 12 batters through four innings.

'I just tried to do the best I can and everything came through," Simon said.. "The bullpen has been pitching a lot. I really wanted to get through the eighth inning. I got two quick outs. I tried to pitch in but he hit the home run."

"April was tough," Simon said.. "When I got to spring training from the Dominican, I had to be ready fast. My arm wasn't in shape yet. I had the tendinitis and they gave me rest. Now my arm is good."

Simon's performance kept the bullpen use to a minimum.

"He got a lot of ground balls.  We turned three double plays," Bryan Price said.  "When you get them to hit the ball early in the count, your defense tends to make better plays."

The Brewers got on the board in the fifth.  Jonathan Lucroy was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a ground ball and scored on Aaron Hill's second single of the game. Alex Presley hit a two-run home run to end Simon's night after 7 2/3 innings.  He allowed three runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter. He struck out five.  Blake Wood finished the eighth.

Adam Duvall hit his fifth home run of the season with Suarez on base in the eighth. It was Duvall's third home run in as many games.

"I'm just trying to get to pitches now," Duvall said. "I'm just trying to square more balls up.  Regular at bats help."

Duvall couldn't remember when but he's had a streak of five or six games with home runs in the minor leagues.

"I was going to send Wood back out until Duvall hit the home run," Price said.  "That gave me a chance to get Hoover in the game."

J.J. Hoover extended the Reds' record bullpen streak when he was touched for a home run by Chris Carter, leading off the ninth.  It was the 50th home run allowed by Reds pitchers.

"It is a little bit more challenging. I don't want Hoover to get in a situation where he has to be so exact," Price said. "His curveball was a little lateral today. You can't get better if you don't pitch. In the same respect I want to get him in the best spots to have success.  I pull for Hoov so much. I really want to see him get it turned around but you have to see it.  You have to see the ball coming out of his hand.with that good four-seam backspin and that jump the fastball that gets by the hitter, the curveball that stays on the plate.  Right now it is a little lateral. He has a lot of work to do to get back on top of his game."

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