Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reds Win a Nail Biter

Encarnacion's Homer Gives Reds Win

Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday night to send the Cincinnati Reds to their first win under manager Dusty Baker, 6-5 over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Arizona took a 5-3 lead into the ninth on the strength of an impressive debut by right-hander Dan Haren, who doubled, scored a run, hit a sacrifice fly and pitched six innings.

Brandon Lyon (0-1), who took over the closer role after Jose Valverde was traded in the offseason, came on and quickly gave it away.

Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn opened the ninth with singles. After Encarnacion failed to get down a sacrifice bunt, he hit his first homer of the season into the lower deck in left field.

Encarnacion's throwing error from third base let Arizona score a pair of unearned runs in the fifth and put the defending NL West champs in position to improve to 2-0. Lyon couldn't close it out.

Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded threat in the top of the ninth, putting him in position for the win.

Ken Griffey Jr. remained hitless in two games, leaving him seven homers shy of becoming the sixth player to reach 600.

Until the ninth, Haren was the highlight. He wasn't feeling great when he arrived at the ballpark — he had a scratchy throat, an indication that he's coming down with a virus going through the clubhouse.

Nothing about his performance was sickly. He gave up four hits in six innings, including Corey Patterson's solo homer and Phillips' two-run shot in the fourth inning.

Haren then started Arizona's go-ahead rally. He doubled off Bronson Arroyo in the fifth, when the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out. Encarnacion threw high and wide of catcher Paul Bako as he tried to force Haren at the plate on a routine grounder, leading to a pair of unearned runs.

Encarnacion has throwing errors in each of the Reds' first two games.

Notes:

Haren's double was his fifth hit in 55 career at-bats.

Arroyo gave up four runs, four hits and three walks in five innings.

3 comments:

Triple Play said...

Is this a make or break year for Encarnacion? This guy has been touted as a can't miss prospect in the past.

Baker thinks this will be his breakout year, but I'm still skeptical.

Bay Rat North West said...

Encarnacion will have an avg. year as far as 3rd basemen goes. Dusty will find a way to screw him up.

Bay Rat North West said...

Brad - who taught you how to cover a game? Good job.