Joey Votto’s first home run on fhe season brightened the dampened spirits of the Reds and it’s fans on the first night game of the season.
Votto had no home runs in spring training but connected off the Philadelphia Phillies’ starter Jared Eickoff to break a scoreless tie, leading off the bottom of the seventh to lead the Reds to a 2-0 win.
The Reds had two hits when Votto stepped to the plate.
Brandon Finnegan was brilliant in his first start of the season, handcuffing the Phillies on a lone hit through seven. Maikel Franco singled with two out in the first, then Finnegan retired 19 batters in a row.
'Brandon was excellent. He was very aggressive and set the tone for the game," Votto said. "I twas really good to see him attack opposing hitters. This is the best I've ever seen him. Eickhoff attacked us and threw a lot of strikes and missed a lot of barrels. I thought he pitched well also."
Per chance inspired by Votto’s blast, Adam Duvall followed with a double. He stayed at second for two outs. Zack Cozart’s second hit of the game gave the Reds a meager cushion.
Finnegan was finished for the night after the rally. He finished with seven innings, allowed a hit and a walk while striking out nine.
Finnegan threw 25 pitches in the first inning but found his release point and sailed from there.
"This was the best I've seen him and it isn't even close," Tucker Barnhart said. "He was a fastball slider guy last year with an inconsistent change up. Tonight we threw more change ups than sliders."
Finnegan was on the same wavelength as Barnhart. He had a lot of strikeouts but got a lot of first pitch outs too.
"I knew the pitch he was going to call next and he called it," Finnegan said. "They put a lot of balls in play."
Michael Lorenzen took over in the eighth.
The fighting Phillies fought back. Lorenzen was greeted with two infield hits to start the eighth by Aaron Altherr and Cameron Rupp. Lorenzen struck out Freddie Galvis and pinch hitter Michael Saunders. He preserved the lead by getting Cesar Hernandez to ground out.
Raisel Iglesias earned his first save of the year. Odoubel Herrera beat out another infield hit with one out but Iglesias fanned Franco on a 3-2 pitch. Barnhart caught Herrera stealing to end the game apparently but the play was reviewed and reversed after two minutes. Iglesias struck out Tommy Joseph to finish the Phills off for good.