Reds Even Series

The Reds returned to the win column after dropping their series opener at Milwaukee. Shin-Soo Choo once again did his job leading off and scored three times including a two-run homer. Joey Votto added a long-ball that opened up a three-run lead after the Brewers cut their deficit down to one run.

This time of season all games are critical for the Reds and after dropping the first one on their current road trip they came back Friday to cruise to a 7-3 win at Milwaukee. Shin-soo Choo started things off right for the Reds by leading off the game with a double and scoring on a Joey Votto sac fly. They added another from a two-out rally in the inning that culminated with an RBI-single by Todd Frazier. Pitcher Homer Bailey was hit by a pitch in the next frame and Choo made the Brewers pay for it with his 21nd home run.

Milwaukee cut the lead down to one before Joey Votto hit a two-run homer in the sixth. There was another Billy Hamilton sighting in the eighth when he pinch-ran and successfully stole second base again. He moved to third on a bunt and scored the final run of the game from a sac fly by Choo. Choo did his job leading off again by going 2-3 with a walk, sac fly, and three runs. Votto, Frazier, and Ryan Ludwick also added two hits to their team's attack.

Homer Bailey won his sixth consecutive decision by allowing three runs on five hits/four walks over seven innings while striking out three. The Brewers loaded the bases in the eighth inning before Aroldis Chapman entered for a four-out save. He did not allow a fair ball while facing six hitters that walked twice and struck out four times.

The win allowed the Reds to cut a game off of the Cardinals' lead after they fell into a tie atop the division from their loss to Seattle and a win by the Pittsburgh over the Cubs. Bronson Arroyo will take the mound Sunday as the Reds try for a series win. He beat the Brewers by throwing a three-run/seven-inning outing his last appearance against them in late August. Overall this season he's 2-0/2.11 over three appearances/21 innings against the Brew Crew. He'll face Yovani Gallardo who is finished up strong after a disappointing season and has lowered his overall ERA to a low-4 by limiting opponents to two earned runs or less in his last five outings, two of which were against the Reds.

Hamilton finally got his first place appearances Tuesday night and is now 5-5 stealing bases in his brief MLB career. There's no secret in his agenda when entering as a pinch runner and no one is going to be perfect after playing a long time. From the look of things he may keep his record unblemished for a while. He'll probably get more plate appearances in blowouts but in the meantime he's making a big impact during his limited action by terrorizing opponents when he's on the base-paths.

Before the season a legitimate leadoff hitter was tops on the Reds wish list and a leadoff hitter they did indeed get with Choo. His game Saturday solidified his handle on the number two spot in on-base percentage, second only to teammate Votto. Many felt it a given before the season that he'd test the free agent market after his contract expires. At first he appears out of small market Cincinnati's budget, but then again that same small market committed over $200 million to Votto before opening day in 2011.

Sunday's game will be tough one against Gallardo who has been peaking at the end of the season. After finishing the Milwaukee series they will travel to former division foe Houston who has the worst record in MLB this season. They'll finish the road trip in some high profile games against the Pirates.

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