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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.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reds Beat Mike Leake Sweep Cardinals In Four Games

Joey Votto had four hits, including his 16th home run of the season, giving the Reds a 5-2 win over Mike Leake and the St. Louis Cardinals

Leake (5-5) started against the Reds for the seventh time since his trade by the Reds to San Francisco at the trading deadline in 2015.  He started the game with the third lowest ERA in the National League at 2.64.

He remained winless against his old mates in spite of taking a shutout into the fifth inning.  Reds’ starter Scott Feldman was even better.

The Reds' offense has been tremendous this season.  The Reds are in the top four in the National  League in nearly every offensive category, except strikeouts. The Reds scored 29 runs in the four game series.  The most against the Cardinals since 1970.

"It is early in the season," Votto said. "i don't think this team has separated itself.  We've had good stretches so far and this is another example of that."

Feldman retired the first nine Cardinals in order but newly Matt Carpenter, newly inserted into the leadoff spot singled.  He pitched around a leadoff single by Yadier Molina in the fifth.  Feldman gave up two singles in the seventh but on his 100th pitch, he got Tommy Pham to hit into an inning ending double play.

"We're capable of scoring runs," Feldman said.  'If we (starting pitchers) can keep the team in the game, like we did this series good things are happening.  I think we have to give the guys in our lineup a lot of credit. It makes our job more important"

"Man he (Votto) is something else,:" Feldman said. "I get a big kick out of watching his approach at the plate. When you play with guys a little longer, you really appreciate what he is.  When I was in the AL, I only got to see him every other year."

The Reds broke the ice against Leake with three runs in the fifth after the former Red pitched out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the fourth.

"It was phenomenal because Leaker was really on and pitched well with runners on base," Bryan Price said. "Scott  Feldman was up to the task. He really limited any real chances of them scoring the bulk of the game. Then we broke through for the three-run inning.  Then Votto with the two-run home run. It certainly didn't ice the game but it gave us a nice cushion." 

Votto started the inning with his third single of the game. It was the seventh off Leake all singles.

Adam Duvall hit a shot up the gap in leftcenter that stuck to the bottom of the fence in front of the Reds’ bullpen.  Dexter Fowler had to dig it out and overthrew his relay man, allowing Votto to score from firstbase. 

"I am going to have to talk to Duvall about that," Votto said. "Maybe I can get him to hit it out of the park so I can jog home."

Votto, who had sllow starts the last two season before dominating the league in the second half, is now at .300 even with 16 home runs and 48 RBI.  He is tied for third in home runs and fifth in RBI.

"I was confused last year and the year before," Votto said.  "This year I fell I have to stay on it. I've got to try to keep up with my teammates and collectively play good baseball."

Scott Schebler was hit by a pitch.  Monday’s hero, Scooter Gennett. singled Duvall home.  Gennett stole second.  Molina’s throw was high and ended up in centerfield, allowing Schebler to score.

Zack Cozart’s infield single in the sixth.  Cozart, who is second in the voting for starting shortstop in the All-Star game, has now reached base in his last 30 games.  Votto followed with his 16th home run, second in the National League and second in as many days.

Feldman (5-4) turned a scoreless game over to Austin Brice.  Carpenter hit his 11th home run with a man on to break the shutout and set up Raisell Iglesias 12th save attempt.

Iglesias has no blown saves and hasn’t been scored upon in his last 20 appearances, covering 20 innings.

The Cardinals lost for the seventh straight time.  It was the Reds’ first four-game sweep of the Cardinals since 2003.

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