Votto’s Bat, Duke’s Arm Push Reds Over Bucs

Joey Votto stroked a two run double and hit a solo homer late in the game as the Reds took advantage of Zach Duke’s control issues to hand Pittsburgh their 98th loss of the year.

Duke went five innings and allowed five runs on six hits and five walks. He walked five hitters and two of them came around to score. Votto contributed a two run double in a three run fourth that put the Reds up 5-1.

The Pirates didn’t roll over. Delwyn Young hit a three run homer to put the score at 5-4. But Chris Bootcheck and newly recalled Anthony Clagett were each touched for tallies as the Reds pulled away.

Johnny Cueto was the winner. He allowed all four Pirate runs in six innings. He walked four and struck out six. With the the score at 7-4 and two men on, Nick Masset induced an inning ending grounder from Lastings Milledge. Francisco Cordero tossed a scoreless 9th for the win.

The Good

Young had three hits to go along with his three RBI.

LaRoche, still hitting number 2, had a double.

Andrew McCutchen stole his 20th base.

The Bad

Bad way to end an otherwise solid year for Duke.

Jason Jaramillo had a rough one. He whiffed three times, had a passed ball that allowed a run to score and hit into a double play.

The Rest

Cueto is now 6-2 in his career against Pittsburgh.

Welcome Anthony Clagett.

Brandon Moss walked three times – the first such game of his career.

Votto’s three RBI put him at 84 for the season, matching his 2008 total. His homer puts him in a tie for 10th all-time for homers hit by Canadian born players.

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Reds Pour it on and Clobber Buccos

Don’t even know how to start with this one. Offense – weak. Starting pitching – not sharp. Relief pitching – yuck. Defense – one error leading to an unearned run. Add it all up and you have a blow out.

Kevin Hart managed to scatter 13 outs among the 8 runs he gave up. Homer Bailey allowed just four hits and two runs in six innings. All told the Pirates managed just five hits. Joey Votto alone had four hits. Five different Reds knocked in two runs. Virgil Vasquez gave up three runs in the 9th.

The Good

Andrew McCutchen had two doubles and an outfield assist

The Bad

All the aforementioned stuff.

The Rest

Homer Bailey has six wins in 2009. Three of them are against the Pirates in the last month.

This was Votto’s fifth career four hit game. His seven hits over the last two games set a career mark for him.

Cutch’s doubles put him in the top five among MLB rookies in too many categories for me to count – runs, hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, hits, etc. It’s a close race in both leagues for Rookie of the Year. No one is having a monster year.

Hart has dropped six straight starts.

Brandon Phillips now has 17 RBIs against the Pirates in 2009.

Bucs need to go 7-5 to avoid 100 losses.