Joey Votto is beginning to show that he is a complete baseball player. The man has tools.
In yesterday's come-from- behind win over the Chicago Cubs, Votto sent a 439' rocket into the right field seats. It was a two out, three-run shot that gave Mike Leake his third win of the season.
The win gave the Reds the series at two games to one. It was a successful home stand as they had just finished winning a set against the New York Mets 2-1 as well.
Leake probably pitched his best game of the season yesterday. He was in complete command of the Cubs, shutting them out with one hit through six innings. He actually had a no-hitter working through five.
In the top of the seventh, Marlon Byrd hit a two-out double giving the Cubs just their second hit of the day. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez reached first on an infield hit that moved Byrd to third.
Leake threw a wild pitch to Tyler Colvin, ruining the shutout as Byrd came home from third base, and Ramirez advanced to second. Colvin then brought Ramirez home with his fourth home run of the season, giving the Cubs their first and only lead of the game at 3-2.
In the home half of the seventh, Ramon Hernandez led off with a double off the left field wall. With the pitcher due up next, this provided a challenge to T-Pick (my new moniker for Dusty Baker). Would he let Leake bat for himself or send up a pinch hitter?
Leake batted for himself and placed a bunt that dropped about five feet from the plate allowing catcher Koyie Hill to gun down Hernandez at third, spoiling the sacrifice attempt by Leake.
Orlando Cabrera singled to right, moving Leake into scoring position at second.
T-Pick then put rookie Chris Heisey in to run for Leake, ending his night and leaving him hanging with a would-be loss.
Brandon Phillips hit into a fielder's choice that sent Heisey to third and forced the O.C out at second.
With two out and runners on the corners, the stage was set for Votto.
Nick Masset relieved Leake in the eighth inning and allowed a hit to Ryan Theriot, but prevented any further damage in the inning.
Coco Cordero finished the Cubs off, in three up and three down fashion in the ninth to register his 10th save of the young season.
Hernandez went 2-3 with one RBI as he raised his average to .279.
Jonny Gomes knocked in a run with a wall banger in the second, lifting his team-leading total to 19, until Votto drove in his 20th in the seventh.
The St. Louis Cardinals win over the Pittsburgh Pirates left the Reds 3.5 games back in the NL Central Division. Milwaukee also kept pace with the Reds and remain a game behind them in third place.
The Reds go to PNC Field on Monday for a brief three game road trip against the Pirates. The first game of the series will pit Bronson Arroyo (1-2) against Ross Ohlendorf (0-0) who will make just his second start of the season.
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