After 3 comebacks, Reds finally sink Pirates in 11; Braves win in Extras in Chicago;

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Yesterday was another Sunday of exciting baseball. In Pittsburgh  the Pirates came back to tie the game in the 7th, 8th and 9th inning, to no avail as the Reds won in 11 6-5. There was no score until the home  fifth when Gregory Polanco smashed a long home run over the right field fence. The Reds answered in a big way in their half of the sixth.  Joey Votto singled home the tying run and Jay Bruce doubled  home two more to make it 3-1. The Pirates made their first comeback in the 7th when Sean Rodriguez drove in Starling Marte with a long tripple to left, and was driven home on a Matt Joyce single to tie the game.  The Reds took a brief lead in the 8th thanks to an error by Pirates catcher Chris Stewart. The Pirates answered in their half as Starling Marte singled home Andrew McCutchen. In the visiting 9th Scott Schebler hit the first of his two doubles, bringing home Adam Duval.  But the Pirates leveled the game in the home 9th on a booming John Jaso home run. Schebler was the Reds’ hero in the 11th.  His second double of the day drove home Eugenio Suarez, and for once the Pirates had no answer. Tim Adelman, a 28-year-old rookie called up for an emergency start by the Reds did a beautiful job, pitching 6 innings giving up 3 hits and 2 runs to one of baseball’s better teams. He was needed, since Raisel Iglesias had to go on the DL with a shoulder injury.   The only other pitcher who did much for the Reds was Blake Wood, the winning pitcher who gave up just a hit in his 2 innings of work. Other than their 3-run rally in the 6th Jeff Locke kept the Reds on Locke-Down through 7. In the end it was Ryan Vogelsong singing the blues, as he got the loss. The Reds ended a 6-game losing streak with yesterday’s win.

Meantime in Chicago, the biblically bad Braves blew a 3-0 lead but still managed a rare win in 10, 4-3 over the Cubs. The 3 runs Atlanta scored to get the lead were as soft as runs can be, scoring on an error, a double play and a scoring fly.  But they would have sufficed except the Cubs put up 2 in the 8th and one in the 9th to even the score. Jason Heyward grounded out for the first Cubs’ run, then Chris Bryant singled one home. In the 9th, Addison Russell singled home Ben Zobrist to even things up.  But in the visiting half of the first extra frame Nick Markakis hit a scoring fly ball for the winning margin. Julio Teheran pitched like what he is, the ace of the Atlanta staff.  The Cubs were silent in his 7  innings, gaining only two safeties and striking out 9 times. Jason Grilli was the only other pitcher to work with distinction, getting the save when the Braves handed him the lead in the 10th.

It seems like the only thing Clayton Kershaw can’t do is sell Dodger dogs at the games.  He struck out 14 men and singled home the game’s only run as the Dodgers beat the Padres 1-0. The Padres only got 3 hits off one of the game’s very best hurlers. The Dodgers got all of 3 hits off Padres’ starter Drew Pomeranz but one was Kershaw’s RBI hit to win it.  On the other end of the spectrum, neither starter looked good in the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the  Yankees. While David Price got the win to advance to 4-0, he looked sloppy at best, giving up 8 hits and 6 “Ernies,” as pitchers call earned runs.  The Yankees gave their starter Nathan Eovaldi leads of 3-1 and 6-4, but he protected neither of them and left after 5 awful innings with the game tied 6-6. He gave up 10 hits and 6 earned runs in his paltry 5 innings. Ivan Nova got the loss giving up one of the two Boston runs in their half of the 7th.

Two games that should have been good pitching matchups didn’t turn out that way.  Both the Nationals and Giants got 6-1 wins, as the Nats beat the Cardinals and the Giants beat the Mets.  The Mets and Noah Syndergaard were never in it against Madison Bumgarner, and home runs by Hunter Pence and Buster Posey didn’t help.  Max Scherzer silenced the Cardinals.

The earliest game tonight is a battle of a pair of studs in Pittsburgh.  The visiting Cubs will send out Jason Hammel with an 0.75 ERA against the Pirates’ Jerrit Cole. Hammel is the Cubs’ version of Kershaw with the willow, as he has 3 RBIS and a 3-game hitting streak. Another interesting duel should be the one in Cincinnati, where former Reds’ ace Johnny Cueto starts for the Giants against Brandon Finnegan of the Reds.  Finnegan has the luck of the Irish-if it weren’t for bad luck he’d have no luck at all.  He carried a no-hitter into the 7th against the Cubs and got no decision, then shut the Mets down until he gave up a 3-run, game-tying home run to Yoenis Cespedes his last time out of the gate.  As for Cueto, 92 of his 100 career wins came in the Reds’ uniform.

Clay Carroll, one of the vital cogs of the Big Red Machine of the 1970’s is 75 today. The Alabama native had a terrific 96-73 record between 1964 and 1978. Before signing with the Braves at age 20, he had worked in a cotton mill with his dad and loaded watermelons onto trucks.   He was with the Braves from 1964-68, joined the Reds in 1968 and stayed through 1975’s World Series title year, then was with the White Sox, Cards and Pirates. He was an All-Star twice in 1971 and 1972, which was the year he led his league in saves.  He was on the 1970 and 1972 Reds teams which lost the World Series and the 1973 team which, in spite of 99 wins lost the NLCS to the Mets. His 37 saves in 1972 was a league record that took 12 years to break. After his career, in 1985 his stepson went on a shooting rampage, wounding the former pitcher, killing his wife and one of their kids.  He is serving life in prison for it.

Hall of Famer Eddie Collins was born this day in 1887 and died in March 1951. In a day when few major leaguers had gone to college he was a graduate of Columbia, and his son would later go to Yale.  Collins  put up a .333 average and over 3300 hits between 1906 and 1930. He was on 3 World Series winners for Connie Mack in 1910, 1911 and 1913 and should have won a fourth the next year, except the Boston Braves pulled off a miraculous

upset. Following that event Connie Mack broke up the team, sending Collins to Chicago and the rest of his talent to the four winds.  Collins won another World Series in 1917 for the Sox under Clarence “Pants” Rowland.  He was one of the White Sox who was playing square in 1919 when 8 of them chose to throw the series to the Reds.  Accounts in both the book and movie “Eight Men Out”  portray owner Charles Comiskey as being even tighter with a buck than most owners of his day and make him out to be the villain that drove the 8 crooked players down their road of sin.  Collins, the square shooter continued with the White Sox until 1926, including a brief tenure as player-manager before returning to Connie Mack’s A’s. While they won the World Series in 1929 and 1930 he never played in either series.  He led his league in steals 4 times including 1923 and 1924 when he was 36 and  37 years old. That must have rankled Ty Cobb who usually led the league in steals in that era. Collins entered the Hall of Fame in 1939 when the museum itself opened to the public. Following his playing days he coached with the Athletics for two seasons, then became general manager of Tom Yawkey’s newly acquired Red Sox.  Collins had suggested to Yawkey the idea of buying the Old Town Team which would remain in the Yawkey family for generations to come. At age 60 he gave up his general manager’s job as his health wasn’t what it had been.  He passed away from a heart problem before the 1951 season began.

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