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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, March 2, 2017

Amir Garrett Shuts Down World Champs Reds Break Egg In Win Column

Ring one up for the Reds.  They won their first Cactus League game in seven tries, 6-2.

The World Champion Chicago Cubs brought a split-squad to Goodyear but Jason Hayward, Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell and Wilson Contreras took the 45 minute ride.  Ian Happ the former UC Bearcat was in the lineup as the designated hitter.

The Cubs fell to 2-3-2 with another game tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale.

Amir Garrett wasn’t fazed.  After all he competed against Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper in Little League in the Las Vegas area.

“We had great battles in 8th and 10th grade.” Garrett said

Garrett shut down the Cubs on one hit.  He struck out two.

“It’s always good with zeroes,” Garrett said.  “That’s a tough lineup to face in spring.  I just concentrated on tempo and focused on the bottom of the strike zone. My nerves weren’t there today.”

Garrett has a real chance to make the team out of spring training, competing with Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Tim Adleman, Rookie Davis and Sal Romano.

“A lot of guys are pitching pretty well right now. It’s wide open right now,” Garrett said.  “I’m just going to work hard.  Last year was completely different. I knew I was just getting used to Major League camp.  Knowing I have a chance to break with the club, put me in a great mind set. I want to get one of those spots.”

Bryan Price was pleased with Garrett’s outing.

“He set the tone.  He got better with each inning.  He threw some good sliders, The velocity went up as the game went on. He was quick to the plate. I was very impressed with him today,” Bryan Price said. ‘You couldn’t ask for anymore from (Evan) Mitchell and Jimmy Herget, some of the kids who got a chance to pitch today.”

The Reds scored two runs off Cubs’ starter Rob Zastryzny in the third inning.

Stuart Turner and Billy Hamilton singled. Both scored on a triple by Jose Peraza. 

Hernan Iribarren’s RBI single scored Adam Duvall, who was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.

Tony Cingrani walked two in a scoreless inning.

Michael Lorenzen walked one in two hitless frames.

The Reds added to their lead in the sixth.  Patrick Kivlehan reached third on a dropped fly ball by Todd Glaesman.  Desmond Jennings single brought Kivlehan home.

The Reds banged out 11 hits.

Jose (Peraza) keeps hitting,” Price said.  “You have the unsung guys like Kivlehan who had another day.  Iribarren hit a couple balls on the screws. We did some good things.”

Luis Castillo gave up singles to Wilson Contreras and Mark Zagunis to open the seventh.  David Bote walked to load the bases.  Eloy Jimenez flied to deep left to score the first Cubs’ run of the day.  Castillo struck out Chris Dominguez swinging.  Happ singled to score Bijan Rademacher, who ran for Contreras.  Phillip Ervin threw Bote out at third to end the inning.

The Reds got a run back in the bottom of the eighth.  Tony Renda singled.  Chad Wallach, the son of Dodgers’ coach Tim Wallach doubled Renda home. Kivlehan doubled Wallach home to reinstate the Reds’ four-run cushion. 

Jimmy Herget, the Reds sixth round pick in 2015, struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

“It was a funky day today,” Price said. “They hit some balls hard that would have probably been out on a normal day.  We hit a couple that they were able to run down because of the wind.  I guess since the Cubs were here we had to play like it was Wrigley Field.  It was good. As much as we didn’t want to start out 0-6 its still been fun watching these guys go out and play.  The second tier guys have been fun to watch.  (Brendon) Dixon had a great at bat his last time up.”

Notes: The Reds play the Cubs in Mesa on Friday.  Tim Adleman and Robert Stephenson continue their quest to win a starting rotation job against the Cubs Mike Montgomery.

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