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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.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Arismendy Alcantara Homers Reds To Win Over Kansas City

The Reds were on a high after beating the World Champion Chicago Cubs two days in a row.

On Saturday, the Reds played the 2015 World Champions, split-squad.  Arismendy Alcantara’s three-run home run capped an eight-run eighth inning that swept the Reds to its third straight win, 9-7.

“Alcantara has always hit for a better average as a right-handed hitter but has hit for better power from the left side, a better slug (slugging percentage),” Bryan Price said.  “I was hoping he’d put something in play to the outfield in that situation. He ends up getting up and driving it out of the ballpark.  That was the theme today. The elevated pitches were hit hard today.”

“It was wonderful to see that second group come in and drop that eight spot to win it,” Price said.

The Reds jumped to an early lead when Patrick Kivlehan singled with two out.  He scored from first on a double by catcher Rob Brantly.

Scott Feldman sailed through three scoreless innings. He allowed a single and hit a batter while striking out three.  It was Feldman’s second appearance.  Feldman pitched 1 2/3 innings against Arizona on Monday, allowing two unearned runs.

“It was a good day. I tried a change up program today,” Feldman said. “Me and Brant (catcher Rob Brantly) talked about that before the game. He called it a lot. Last time out there it was kind of weird, it was nice to get a little tempo going.  I tried to work a little quicker today.”

Drew Storen, the Reds most prominent off-season acquistion, was hit hard for the second time this spring.  There was some bad luck involved.  Storen struck out Paulo Orlando on a pitch in the dirt that Brantly couldn’t block.  Storen walked Jorge Soler/  Samir Duenez hit a three-run home run to rightfield.  Former Red, Brayan Pena, doubled and scored on a home run by Jorge Bonifacio.

“He’s thrown a lot of elevated fastballs,” Price said.  “He is seasoned enough to know. That he’s trying to get his fastball in shape, find his fastball command. From the very first hitter the fastball is up. The two home runs were on elevated fastballs.  When he gets the ball down with his type of movement, the change up and breaking balls.  Out here in spring training those things are going to happen. He’ll be fine. It will get a lot better, trust me.”

Cody Reed pitched a scoreless fifth but four straight hits cost him two runs. Duenez singled. Pena’s second double of the game drove Duenez home.  Pena scored on a single by Bonifacio.

The Reds carried the deficit into the bottom of the eighth but exploded against Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez was in the Reds’ camp last year, trying unsuccessfully to make the team.  He didn’t get an out in the game and was saddled with the loss.

Phillip Ervin doubled off Jonathan Sanchez.  Brendan Dixon walked.  Jesse Winker’s third hit scored Ervin.  Winker has faced a lot of left-handed pitching this spring.  Two of his three hits were off lefties.

“Winker has hit some balls really hard,” Price said.  “Especially, his first, two or three games. He hangs in well on lefties.  That’s why organizationally we like him so much.  He’s not a guy as a young hitter that looks to be a platoon player.”

Hernan Iribarren hustled down the line to beat a throw by shortstop Ramon Torres, loading the bases.  Stuart Turner walked to send Dixon home.  Blake Trahan doubled to score two runs.  Gabriel Guerrero singled to right to score Iribarren with the Reds’ seventh run.  Alcantara greeted Reid Redman with a three-run home run.

Lucas Luetge pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win.  Barrett Astin pitched a perfect ninth for a save.

The Reds had a double by Joey Votto and two singles by Jesse Winker.  Billy Hamilton singled and thrown out by Pena.  Patrick Kivlehan’s single extended his hitting streak to four games. He has at least one hit in six of his eight appearances.

Notes: Ryan Raburn was scratched with a stiff neck. Price expects him to play on Sunday....  Austin Brice is out with the lu. He is expected to miss three or four days....Jose Peraza has been impressive and not just because of his .563 batting average. On Friday, a wild pitcher, Aaron Brooks, who later hit two batters, threw the ball behind Peraza. The secondbaseman, stayed on the ball and drove a line drive for a hit.  “There’s a toughness that I really admire,” Price said.  Defensively, Zack Cozart had to dive for the ball and flip to Peraza with a runner bearing down on him. “He had to take that throw with his back to the runner and still be able to make a quick turn and fire. That was really impressive,” Price said....Anthony DeSclafani is tentatively scheduled for a side bullpen session somewhere around March 6th or 7th.  DeSclafani has a tender right elbow....Bronson Arroyo is throwing a bullpen session on Saturday. If every thing goes well Arroyo, who missed a few days with the flu, could pitch in a game early next week.


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