Reds Avoid Sweep

The Reds bounced back from a shutout loss with a shutout of their own Wednesday and avoided a sweep to the hands of the visiting Cubs. Mike Leake picked up the win for pitching into the sixth inning while Devin Mesoraco powered the offense with three hits including a homer.

After a splendid 6-1 start to their homestand Cincinnati took the field Wednesday afternoon trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cubs. They were successful, jumping out to a second inning lead and cruising to a 6-0 victory. Hits by Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier to lead off the inning set up the first two runs of the game that came from a couple of groundouts before Devin Mesoraco added on in the fourth with a solo home run. Finally Jack Hannahan provided the final score with a three-run homer in the sixth, his first longball of the season.

Mesoraco led his team with three hits while all three in the heart of the lineup, Joey Votto, Bruce, and Frazier reached safely twice from a hit and a walk each. Mike Leake got the win for pitching shutout ball into the sixth inning when he left after running up his pitch count to 107 with four hits, four walks, and six strikeouts. J.J. Hoover finished the inning before Alfredo Simon, Manny Parra, and Sam LeCure finished the game with one scoreless frame each.

Zack Cozart ended a fifteen game hitting streak. He entered the contest on a tear, going 33-95 (.347) over his previous fifteen games. He's not the only Cincinnati sophomore infielder getting hot down the stretch. Frazier has now gone 12-38 (.316) since the beginning of this month. The homer by Mesoroco was his ninth of the season and first one since August 3. The second-year catcher raised his season average to .248.

Those three second-year players and departed Drew Stubbs are the last products of the Cincinnati farm to see regular duty for the Reds since Jay Bruce arrived in 2008. All three were drafted in the first two rounds, and there are obviously a lot of big expectations for them while they work in a Reds uniform. The current lineup structure takes away a bit of pressure because they are all hitting in the bottom half. Overall the Reds have scored the third highest number of runs in the NL and are fifth in home runs.

Leake dropped his ERA to 3.35 on the season and the win raised his record to 13-6, which is personal best for wins. His ernie is the lowest in the Cincinnati rotation after Mat Latos and Tony Cingrani, though Cingrani hasn't thrown enough innings to qualify for the league leaders. Leake will likely also set a personal best for innings pitched in his next start and depending on how many appearances he makes he could crack the 200 level. If not, he should at least complete 190 which would make two years in a row the Cincinnati rotation had four pitchers accomplish that amount of work.

The win failed to move the Reds any closer to first place as both St. Louis and Pittsburgh won their games. They now have an off-day before opening a road trip at Milwaukee.

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