Dateline: Browns Chapel
On a slightly cool evening, the Cards continued their mid-season road trip for a rematch against the Reds. The Cards came in on a five game winning streak and looked great in warm ups.
The Cards offense got on track with three quick runs in the first. Conor walked, Austin was hit by a pitch. Darron grounded into a fielders choice at third. With runners at first and second, Robbie smashed a double to score two runs. Jack grounded out to first to move Robbie to third and Keegan came through with a big two out RBI single to score Jack. Conor started on the mound, but the Reds bats were alive. With two leadoff singles, runners were at first and second. The next batter hit a shot to Keegan who snagged the ball and immediately through to Daron at first for a double play. The runner on second moved to third on the play and the throw to third was off-line and the run scored. Conor settled down and struck out the next batter for out three. After one it was 3-1 Cards.
With two outs in the second, Aaron smashed a line shot to center. He stole second and scored on a solid single to center by Daron. Conor had ran into some rare control problems in the second and walked the first three batters. He settled down and got a strikeout. A long triple to left scored three runs. A groundout back to Conor in which he fired home for an exciting play at the plate was good for out two. Unfortunately, a single and two more walks resulted in the fourth run of the inning. After two it was 5-4 Reds.
The Cards looked unworried as they came up to bat in the third. A single by Daron and a stolen base moved Daron to second. Robbie grounded out to short which resulted in a fielders choice where Daron was out at third. Jack drilled a single to move Robbie to third. Keegan grounded out to score Robbie and pick up his second RBI on the day. Greg came on in the third and looked great. He struck out three batters and gave up only one single. After three it was all tied up at Cards 5 Reds 5.
The Cards dramatically increased their lead in the fourth. TJ and Aaron walked. Conor drilled another big single to move TJ to third. Austin walked to score Tj. Daron walked to score Aaron. Robbie was safe on an error to score Conor. Jack walked to score Austin. Greg continued to pitch beautifully in the fourth. He struck out the first batter. Two quick doubles scored a run but Greg stayed calm. After a wild pitch moved the runner to third, Greg fired a hard fastball and got the batter to popup to the mound. Greg caught it and fired to third for the Cards second double play of the day. After four it was Cards 9 Reds 6.
The Cards went down quietly in the fifth. Greg started the fifth with two quick walks and Coach Grossman went to the bullpen and gave the ball to Robbie. Fans vigorously applauded Greg’s outstanding performance. Robbie looked sharp with a quick strikeout and a pop out to Daron at first, unfortunately a hit batter and a few fortunate singles and walks resulted in four runs for the Reds. Suddenly it was Reds 10 Cards 9.
In the sixth, the Cards had to score one run to force a bottom half of the sixth. They were up to the challenge. Leadoff walks to Conor and Austin and a huge single by Daron scored Conor to tie the game with no outs. Robbie walked to load the bases. Jack grounded out to first to score Austin and give the Cards a one run lead. Keegan got his third RBI on the day with a big groundout to first to score Daron and Robbie scored on an bad throw by the catcher. When the dust had cleared the Cards were up 13-10. Robbie looked sharp to start the inning with a quick strikeout. After that this reporter was too surprised to write much other than to say the Reds had some good fortune and came away with a one run win over the Cards. Final score Reds 14 Cards 13.
Coach Goldstein said, “Our team certainly did their best and I really liked how our bats came alive. We had twelve hits today and that should certainly carry over into our big game on Thursday.”
Coach Grossman said, “I’m really proud of how our guys fought to stay in this game. They could easily have given up at any time, but they kept working hard. Any time you have a five game winning streak, the ball has to bounce your way and today, it just didn’t quite work out for us. This league has a lot of parity and anybody can always come out with a win. That being said, I can’t say enough about how well our team works together and I was thrilled to see Greg have a great outing on the mound. That will add even more depth to our pitching rotation. I’m sure we’ll come out ready to play the Astros and we’ll put this one behind us.”
This reporter asked Coach Grossman if he thought the strike zone was a bit smaller this game. Coach Grossman said,”I’d rather not publicly comment on that sort of thing. I will say the book shows we had 27 walks this game (between both teams) and our last few games haven’t had quite so many walks. These umpires are doing their best and I’m sure they’ll improve over time. You reporters are always trying to get me in trouble with the league front office and I just don’t want that to happen. Suffice it to say that I hope we don’t have so many walks in the future.”
Tickets are selling briskly for the Cards big game Thursday against the Astros.