Cincinnati Reds Take Two of Three Against a Great Braves Team? I'll Take It!
Much of the weekend buzz in Reds Nation was over the fact that no significant moves were made by the organization at the trade deadline.
Whether or not that was a smart idea remains to be seen, but in the meantime, a first place Atlanta Braves team came rolling into Great American Ballpark, and lost two out of three to a Reds team that has yet to lose a series since the All-Star Break.
In addition to winning, people are starting to notice the team, as a record crowd for a three-game series was on hand.
What were the keys to victory in this series? Timely hitting was one of them, and a little bit of luck, thanks to some shaky Atlanta fielding.
Lets rewind to Saturday: Trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning and really, showing no signs of life offensively, Ryan Hanigan doubled home two runs off of Jair Jurrjens, who had been cruising right along.
That wasn't all, though. Melky Cabrera completely butchered the throw from the outfield, and Hanigan busted it all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park three-run home run.
Sunday, it was pretty much the same thing. There was no inside-the-park home run, but a clutch hit, followed by questionable fielding, helped shake off the early doldrums.
With Ramon Hernandez on first, Brandon Phillips hit a shot down the right field line. Jason Heyward, in an ill-advised dive for the ball, completely whiffed, which allowed Hernandez to score.
If Heyward doesn't dive for that and instead stays in front of it, Hernandez probably doesn't make it past third.
Another Atlanta defensive miscue, this time by former Red Alex Gonzales, brought home Phillips and gave the Reds the 2-1 lead.
That was all the Reds needed, and after blowing the game Friday night, Francisco Cordero recorded his second consecutive save, slamming the door shut in the ninth.
First place was lost with Friday night's loss, combined with St. Louis' win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals went on to sweep the matchup to keep that position in the standings, but as the calender turns to August, they have to know that this Cincinnati team is for real.
I envision more swapping of first place in this final stretch. With each day, the games grow in importance.
Pennant fever...I could get used to this.
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