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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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Billy Hamilton, Devin Mesoraco End Droughts, Drown Pirates

Crosby Stills and Nash sang it....It’s been a long time coming, It’s been a long time gone.

Billy Hamilton and Devin Mesoraco know the feeling.  Both homered in the Reds’ 7-2 takedown of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hamilton’s home run that left the yard as fast as he can run, was his first since he hit one on June 28, 2016 off the Cubs Jon Lester, a span of 319 at bats.  It was the third longest home run drought behind to Pete Kozma and Adeiny Hechavarria.

The three-run blast to the Bucs’ bullpen doubled the lead it gave to its young starter Rookie Davis.  Eugenio Suarez blasted his sixth of the season off the Pirates’ young starter James Taillon, who entered the game 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, in the first inning. Zack Cozart was on base with a single. Joey Votto had a signature walk preceding Suarez bomb.

"I have been trying to be ready for pitch one," said Hamilton who hit the first pitch out. "I've been trying to stop pulling out so much. A couple of days ago, if I had the same approach tonight as I did a couple days ago, I wouldn't have even touched that ball."

Davis was in trouble most of his five innings but was able to pitch out of jams in five scoreless innings. He retired the first four batters butloaded the bases in the second but escaped.  The Pirates stranded two in the third and left the bases loaded in the fourth.  Gregory Polanco reached on catcher’s interference in the sixth but a slick stop down the line by Votto was turned into a 3-6 double play.

'The biggest thing was to keep myself composed and compete," said Davis, who had family members watching his first career win on TV in North Carolina. "This first win is pretty special."

Davis was kicked around in his last start against Milwaukee. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs.

"It was simplifying the game. I spoke with Feldy (Scott Feldman) and (Drew (Storen) about it. I also talked with Price about it. We talked about taking the extras out of it  When I'm out there it's my mound. I have to treat it that way and that's what I did today. I don't know if you recall with Josh Harrison at third, the extra movements that he was doing. If you want to try to steal home go ahead.  It is situations like that it doesn't really matter whatever extras are going on."

Davis lasting five innings showed Bryanj Price progress.

"With a young pitcher anytime they go that extra inning, it's a big deal," Price said. "Then you get to nine and build expectations to go nine all the time."

Mesoraco hit a long drive to the upper dek in the sixth inning off Trevor Williams to put the Reds up seven zip.

It ended nearly three seasons of an injury riddled drought that limited the Reds’ catcher to 39 games the past two seasons.  Mesoraco last homered on September 23, 2014 off the Brewers’ Mike Friers, 117 at bats ago.

'I would say this one kind of means a little bit more than my first Major League home run," Mesoraco said. "As a rookie, I was a big prospect guy. I knew I was going to get a lot of opportunities. Coming back after everything that happened; getting to go out and have a chance to help the team. I am very thankful. I feel I owe them a good performance after not being available the last couple years. I feel like there was never any doubts in my mind that I would all happen, the hits and home runs and being able to be a good player, but it is rewarding all the hard work and all the people that helped me get to this position.  It definitely means a lot with the training staff, Don Long.throughout the last couple years. I'm very thankful for the people around me."

Cody Reed relieved Davis, whose Houdini Act cost him 91 pitches in five frames.  Reed pitched two innings and gave up Andrew McCutchen’s fifth home run with one of the troubling four passes he issued on base.

Drew Storen and Raisell Iglasias finished off the Pirates for the Reds fifth win in six games over their Central Division rivals.

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