The Cincinnati Reds scored three runs in the eighth inning in a 4-2 win at the Chicago Cubs Saturday. The big hit was a two-run double by Ryan Ludwick. Wilson Valdez added on another with a two-out single later in the inning. Brandon Phillips had three hits and scored twice to bring his average up to .299. Ludwick and Ryan Hanigan added two hits each and Todd Frazier drove in their first run with a single in the fourth.
Bronson Arroyo got the start and allowed two runs on five hits in eight innings for his eighth win. It was business as usual for Aroldis Chapman when he retired the side in order in the ninth with two strikeouts for his 27th save. Cincinnati will run out their ace Johnny Cueto when they try to win the four game set that concludes at Wrigley Field Sunday.
Before the game the Reds got some bad news regarding the return of slugger Joey Votto. He returned to Cincinnati Friday for a minor procedure to remove a piece of floating cartilage in his injured knee. He’s been out of action since July 17 to repair a torn meniscus suffered before the all-star break. The additional correction is expected to keep him sidelined another 7-10 days.
According to Reds trainer Paul Lessard, “He had some pain and we sent him back to get an MRI. We found basically a little chunk of cartilage floating in his knee. Doc went in and removed it.” It was a six minute procedure performed by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek who entered the knee through the same place that was used in the first surgery.
At the time Votto went down the Reds had a contentious half-game lead over second place Pittsburgh. Since his absence a previously lackluster Reds offense has picked up the slack and gone 18-8 to increase their cushion to four and one half games. That period included a ten game winning streak inside a run where they won fifteen of sixteen. They even won when they were also without the services of Phillips who missed almost a week with a strained calf.
Frazier has been covering at first since Votto went on the DL. After starting off the season in Louisville the rookie has been an invaluable back-up for the Reds this season. Earlier he covered for Scott Rolen at third base and he’s now hitting .273/.331 OB% with fourteen home runs in 300 plate appearances. After he moved across the infield Rolen has come back to raise his season average over .050’. Ludwick has also stepped with seven homers he’s now up to .266. Of course Reds pitching has been strong all season and their team ERA is the third lowest in the NL, only 0.21 runs behind leader Washington.
For a while it appeared that Votto’s return would not be too soon as the Reds followed up their 15-1 run by losing five games in a row. Prior to the set-back he had been traveling with the team and doing some rehab work. Now it appears he will not return to the lineup until the second half of August, taking his .342 AVG/.465 OBP/.604 SLG bat with him. The Reds are trying to win the NL Central for the second time in the last three seasons and Votto should still be ready by next month. Their 2010 post season appearance was brief with a three game sweep to the hands of the Phillies. With Votto returning to a resurgent lineup and strong pitching the Reds are making noises like they’re going to hang around longer this October.
News from the Farm:
Louisville allowed runs in each of their final three innings of defense in an 8-2 loss at Gwinnett. Corky Miller and Chris Valaika had two hits apiece for the Bats including a home run by Miller. Tim Gustafson allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in six innings to take the loss. He struck out six with only one walk.
Pensacola allowed four runs in the seventh in a 6-4 home loss to Chattanooga. Josh Fellhauer had three hits including a homer in the first inning and raised his average to .300. Daniel Corcino allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits in five innings while striking out four and walking four. Drew Hayes lost an in inherited lead and took the loss.
Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:
Hamilton beat out a bunt single in the third inning and was caught attempting to steal second. He led off the eighth with a walk and successfully stole second before scoring on a single by the next batter.
Bakersfield allowed two in the seventh in a 4-3 loss at High Desert. Travis Mattair had three hits for the Blaze while Theo Bowe added two. Josh Smith got no decision from a quality start where he allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in six innings. Kyle McMyne allowed two runs in less than one inning that blew a lead and hung the loss on him.
Dayton scored the game-winner on a Kyle Waldrop hit in the eighth inning in a 4-3 home win over Fort Wayne. Joe Terry went 2-2 with two walks and two RBI. Juan Perez added two hits to the Dragon offense. James Allen got no decision from a quality start where he allowed three runs on five hits in six innings and struck out five without a walk. Ryan Kemp threw two scoreless innings of relief for the win. Carlos Contreras retired the side in order in the ninth for the save.
Billings lost an 11-10 slugfest at Missoula. Seth Mejias-Brean had four hits including two home runs. Daniel Pigott, Robert Maddox, Jeff Gelalich, and Matt Lentz added three hits each to the Mustang attack. Robert Ramirez had two hits and Brandon Dailey hit a home run in the first at-bat of the game. Amir Garrett made his first start for the Mustangs and threw three scoreless innings allowing three hits. Nolan Becker allowed three runs in less than one inning of relief and took the loss.
The AZL Reds allowed seven in the fourth inning in a 10-2 home loss against the AZL Diamondbacks. The Reds offense was held to six hits. Starter Wandy Peralta took the loss after allowing six runs before he was lifted in the fourth inning.
The DSL Reds scored the final two runs of their game at the DSL Diamondbacks in the sixth inning and won 6-5. Deyvi Burgos had three singles for the Reds. Miguel Mendez and Rusbel Farinez added two hits each. Jose Rosario got the start and was knocked out in the second inning while allowing four runs. Jairo Martinez threw 2+ innings of scoreless relief which earned him the win. Jesus Parra did not allow a run while throwing the final two innings for the save. He now has a sub-one ERA after twelve appearances.