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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, April 15, 2017

Jesse Winker's First Hit Get Reds Back On Track

Jesse Winker’s first career hit put the Reds ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in a 7-5 win.

Pinch hitting for winning pitcher Raisell Iglesias, Winker hit a double that bounded away from Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun to score Scooter Gennett and Zack Cozart.

Brandon Finnegan started for the Reds but couldn’t get the ball over the plate.  The lefty walked Jonathan Villar and Eric Thames to start the game.  Braun flied to right and Finnegan picked Villar off secondbase.  But he walked Domingo Santana in front of a double by Hernan Perez, who had three hits.

"He had a little bit of sensation in his shoulder from his last start," Bryan Price said. "He went through his progressions during the week and couldn't duplicate it. He was ready to go.  He won't make his next start."

Finnegan felt it from the first pitch. "My velo was down 10 mph and I couldn't throw the ball where I wanted to. I wanted to grind through it. I clearly didn't have it. We needed to get some innings out of our starters. I talked to Doc. He said it's nothing to be concerned about. Just work on it to get better."

Robert Stephenson replaced Finnegan in the top of the second.  It was later learned that Finnegan had a strained left lat.

The Reds erased the lead with three runs in the bottom ot second against Milwaukee’s starter Zach Davies.

Scott Schebler and Davies battled for 11 pitches to a 3-2 count.  Schebler hit his third home of the season to the seats in right.  Eugenio Suarez followed with a double.  Zack Cozart hit his second triple of the series to score Suarez and scored on a weird 3-1-4 putout of Tucker Barnhart.  Barnhart hit a slow ground ball to Thames charging from first. It tipped off Thames glove and picked up by Davies on his way to cover first.  Davies flipped to secondbaseman Villar covering first.

Thames hit his third home run of the series off Stephenson in the third to even the score at three.

Stephenson left after three innings, allowing the one run on three hits.

Raisel Iglesias took over. He retired the side in order in the fifth.

The Reds threatened in the fourth.  Schebler walked and moved up on Cozart’s single. Winker was on deck to bat for Iglesias but Barnhart struck out to end the inning.

Iglesias went back out for the sixth frame.  Perez led off the inning with his third hit of the game, a double that was reviewed and changed to a home run, his first of the season to put the Brewers ahead 4-3.

The Reds snatched the lead off reliever Carlos Torres in the sixth.

Suarez opened the inning with a triple. Gennett, who was a Brewer until the last day of spring training drilled a single to center to tie the game.  Cozart walked.  Barnhart’s sacrifice put the runners in scoring position with two outs.  Winker, then got his chance, hitting a line drive to left that took a left turn on Braun allowing Cozart to score easily. Winker pulled into second with a double for his first career hit. He struck out in his first at bat on Friday.

" My first at bat yesterday we were losing (10-4). It was late in the game (last out), Winker said. "I took the time to look around and soaked it in. You only get your first at bat one time.  I couldn't tell where they was sitting but I was walking to the plate and locked eyes on my mom and dad.  It was surreal. Today I tole myself whenever I get in the game, I'm going to work. I came up I just wanted to hit the ball hard. I got jammed but it worked."

Winker's grandmother and uncle drove here last night from Buffalo, New York.  His grandmother had never seen him play as a professional.  He was on the Louisville roster last season but was hurt when they went the Bats went to Buffalo.

Winker was brought up to give the Reds mor options off the bench.  Finnegan's problem may influence whether he stays or goes back down to Louisville.  Gennett know he's coming off the bench but Winker needs to play everyday.

"i'd be lying if I said it didn't add a little to beat my former teammates," Gennett said. "They beat up on us pretty good yesterday so it was nice to get the win and get us going again.  I've learned when you get those opportunities you have to capitalize."

Thames struck again.his fifth home run of the year and fourth of the series cut the Reds’ lead in half.  It was Thames first career multi-home run game.  Thames played 181 games for Toronto and Seattle in 2011 and 2012.  He went to Korea and played three years averaging 40 home runs a season and hitting .381 in 2015.

The Reds got the run back off Jared Hughes. Votto doubled to start the inning. Schebler singled to send Votto to third. Gennett doubled to reestablish the two-run cushion.

Michael Lorenzen, who was roughed up Friday night, pitched a scoreless ninth for his first career save.

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