It was the tail of two pitchers with vastly different styles at Great American Ball Park between the Colorado Rockies, a 6-4 winner and the Cincinnati Reds.
The ancient Bronson Arroyo, 40, a notorious fly ball pitcher, faced off against the fuzzy cheeked Rockies rookie, Kyle Freeland, 23, who gets 2/3 of his outs with ground balls.
It turned into a mini home run derby at the friendly confines of what is affectionately called “Great American Small Park.” Six hitters shrunk the park with home runs.
Black chose Stanton but acknowledged Hamilton’s game changing speed.
"Hamilton is a force,” Black said in the pre game meeting with the press. “When he starts walking to the plate you become concerned because of his ability to steal and create havoc. We saw what happened two nights ago the ball he hit down the line and enc up scoring, going first to third on a single to left. He has game changing speed. He has the desire to steal and is arguably the best base stealer in the game. He's a dynamic player. When he's in the box you worry about him getting on base. The way you combat that is to make him earn it.”
After Arroyo struck out two batters in a scoreless first inning, Hamilton made Black look prophetic.
Hamilton reached base when thirdbaseman, Nolan Arenado, fumbled a short one-hop grounder to lead off the bottom of the first. While Jose Peraza was drawing a walk. Hamilton stole his way to thirdbase, giving him 23 for the season. Peraza stole second. Joey Votto’s ground out chased Hamilton home. Adam Duvall was hit by a pitch but Peraza was picked off by Freeland. The Reds scored without a hit.
Arroyo breezed through two frames but former batterymate, Ryan Hanigan hit a single. Freeland proved he could hit the ball in the air with exhibit one, a double. Charlie Blackmon’s deep fly tied the game. The second of D.J.LeMahieu’s four hits gave Freeland a lead to work with.
The turning point to the inning and the game was the double by Freeland, who missed two attempts to bunt.
"That hurt me bad," Arroyo said. 'I opened a can of worms. You gotta get the out there. I tried to put the ball on the outer half. I didn't see the pitch if it got too much of the plate."
That’s when the clouds went away, the sun appeared and the park shrunk to size.
Carlos Gonzalez, Freeland, exhibit two, LeMahieu and the brother of a former Red, Pat Valaika hit solo home runs off Arroyo. "I missed with a change up to Gonzalez," Arroyo said. "There's an ebb and flow to the game. Sometimes bad pitches are outs and good pitches get hit. I have to find a way to get deeper into games."
Arroyo is coming back after missing two years. The Reds have three starting pitchers out with injuries. It remains to be seen if Arroyo can hold onto his position in the starting rotation.
'I've been in position a hundred times even when I was younger. We have three pitchers coming back within a month or a month and a half. That is my window of opportunity," Arroyo said. "I'm feeling healthier all the time but it seems like I'm going to my bag of tricks earlier in the game. Time will tell. I cnn't give up a run an inning and expect to hold on."
Bryan Price is willing to let Arroyo's career play out for awhile.
"Bronson has been very honest with himself and with us," Price said. "That's what I like about him. It's a challenging game. It's unforgiving."
Meanwhile Freeland allowed harmless hits to Devin Mesoraco and Scott Schebler. The Reds were lifting the ball at a higher rate off Freeland, eight of the first 15 outs were from ground balls, including a double play grounder.
But the Reds plugged into the power grid in the sixth inning. Jose Peraza hit a ball off the top of the leftfield wall. He slid into third with a triple but the umpires reviewed it to see if it bounced off the stands and came back to the field. The original call was confirmed. Votto said, “review this” with his 12th home run into the very same stands. Two outs later Schebler hit his 12th off the Bowtie Bar sign above the Rockies bullpen.
Robert Stephenson and Blake Wood calmed the Rockies for two innings while the Reds mounted threats. Devin Mesoraco narrowly missed a home run to center with a leadoff seventh-inning double. It went to waste as Chris Rusin left him stranded.
Votto and Eugenio Suarez singled in the eighth off Adam Ottovino but Duvall, Schebler and Arismendy Alcantara struck out.
Wood worked around an error for a scoreless ninth.
Greg Holland entered the game for Colorado, looking for his 19th save in 19 tries.
Holland walked Mesoraco to open the ninth. Pinch hitter Scooter Gennett hit for Wood representing the tying run. Gennett fanned on three pitches. Hamilton flied out. Peraza went down swinging.