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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.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sal Romano Hooks Marlins Behind Three Home Runs

Sal Romano handled the powerful Miami Marlins for six innings as his teammates hit three home runs to salvage the final game of an awful homestand, 6-3

Romano allowed three hits, including catcher A.J. Ellis’ second home run, the only run scored off him. He walked one while pounding the strike zone for seven strikeouts against a team with three batters that have 20 or more home runs.

Tom Koehler, the Marlin’s starter, battled the Reds hard for four innings.  Koehler hit Scott Schebler with a pitch in the second inning. Tucker Barnhart walked.  Romano moved them up a base with a sacrifice bunt.  The first of Billy Hamilton’s three hits scored Schebler but Barnhart was cut down by Giancarlo Stanton’s throw home.  The Reds argued to no avail that Ellis blocked the plate but the out at home ended the inning.

Romano pitched around two hits and a walk in the first three innings and retired seven batters in a row until Ellis lined a home run to leftfield with two outs in the fourth. 

Dee Gordan let off the game with a single and stole his 35th base right away.  He advanced to third with one out on Giancarlo Stanaton's ground out.

 “The first inning he had a rough speed guy on and he was able to make pitches on Yellich and Bour," Bryan Price said.  "We stressed using the change and he did that today.”

 After the Ellis home run, Romao retired the last seven batter he faced.

“Sal got through the lineup in the third and fourth pretty quickly.   That was key for him.”

“It feels great.  We needed that victory," Romano said.  "I was attacking the strike zone. I told Tucker before the game to go ahead and call the change up.  I need to use it.  Mostly I trusted what Tucker put down there. He’s been in the league a lot longer than I have.”

Romano allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start Tuesday against Arizona.  He seemed to pitch with more confidence against Miami.

“My tempo was good today. My fastball location was much better.”

Romao had to manage the heat as well as the powerful Marlin lineup.

 “I had two jerseys and would change off between innings," Romano said..  "They would throw one in the dryer.?"

Scooter Gennett’s 17th home run leading off the bottom of the fourth kept the Reds in front.

With one out in the fifth Hamilton singled again.  While Zack Cozart was working a walk, Hamilton stole second and third for his league leading 42nd and 43rd thefts of the season.  Slumping Joey Votto, who has watched his batting average slip below .300, hit a one-hop ground ball to the mound. Koehler threw high to second and the throw ended up in centerfield.  Gennett singled to score Cozart but Stanton threw Votto out at third.

‘Billy is hitting the ball on the screws again," Price said.  "He is confident enough to take a strike here and there to get a better pitch.”

Eugenio Suarez and Barnhart chased Koehler with solo home runs in the sixth.  It was Suarez’ 16th and Barnhart’s third.

Michael Lorenzen replaced Romano.  Ellis doubled with one out.  Former Reds’ farmhand Miguel Rojas singled to score Ellis.  Rojas went to second as Schebler fumbled the ball. Pinch hitter Marcel Ozuna singled to cut the Reds’ lead to 6-3.

Raisell Iglesias took over in the eighth inning, facing Stanton the National League home run leader with 30 and Justin Bour, who hit 21 home runs.  Bour singled in the scoreless eighth.  Iglesias earned his 17th save in 18 chances in a two inning save. 

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