Reds Take Series at Pittsburgh

There was much anticipation last night before the Reds game at Pittsburgh as Johnny Cueto took the mound in search of his 20th win. He pitched well but did not get a decision before ninth inning heroics notched the Reds' 96th win of the year. Xavier Paul tied the score with a pinch hit home run before Zach Cozart doubled home the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

Cincinnati added their 96th win of the season last night when they took their final series at Pittsburgh, winning 4-3. Johnny Cueto took the mound in search of his 20th win of the season. He did not get the win, but pitched well enough for one as a couple of unearned runs kept him from getting a decision. He threw seven innings, allowing six hits/one walk and one earned run while striking out six. Post season considerations limited him to 98 pitches and he finished the year at 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA, the lowest by a Reds pitcher since Jose Rijo in 1993.

Sam LeCure and Sean Marshall combined for a scoreless eighth with Marshall getting the win. Aroldis Chapman allowed the first three hitters on base in a dicey ninth inning. He got one out after an errant throw attempting to pick off the leadoff hitter who was thrown out trying to take an extra base at third. After a second walk and a single he struck out the final two batters of the game for his 37th save.

The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by Joey Votto and a run-scoring groundout by Todd Frazier before the home team tied them in the bottom of the inning on a Garret Jones home run. Two innings later they took the lead on an RBI single by Andrew McCutchen. Xavier Paul evened the score with a pinch-hit solo homer leading off the ninth. Later that inning Ryan Ludwick hit a pinch-hit double and Zach Cozart doubled home pinch runner Denis Phipps with the game-winner. The Reds had ten hits in the game with Wilson Valdez, Votto, and Miguel Cairo getting two each.

Jay Bruce, Ludwick, Cozart, and Scott Rolen were not in the starting lineup as the Reds have been resting regulars in preparation for the post season. Ludwick saw action as a pinch hitter after being a late scratch due to wetness on the field. Brandon Phillips was replaced by Cozart after tweaking his groin on said surface rounding second. It was a precautionary measure and he's expected to be available Monday. Bruce missed starter Wandy Rodriguez against whom he has only two hits in 32 AB with 16 K's. He entered the game as a pinch hitter and finished in right field. Before that Frazier made his first appearance in right this season. The win tied the Reds with Washington for the best record in the majors after the Nationals lost 10-4 at St. Louis. The Cardinals now have a two game lead over the Dodgers for the final wild card spot with three left to play.

Perhaps before the season the schedule-makers had in mind a showdown for the division championship when they had the Reds visit St. Louis in the final series of the regular season. The division has been decided for a while now with the Reds holding a ten game lead. The series will have some significance as the Cards will try to clinch the wild card spot and the Reds are vying for the top seed. They will need to have the best record outright to get it because the Nationals own the head-to-head tie breaker. Dusty Baker is expected to return to his position as manager making Sunday's game the last one as acting manager for bench coach Chris Speier. Bronson Arroyo is scheduled to take the hill against Jaime Garcia.

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