Reds’ bats awaken in Coors pinball machine

By HAL McCOY

It wasn’t Dan Straily’s finest hour, but not too many pitchers have their finest hours, or finest minutes, in Coors Field, the world’s largest pinball machine.

Straily, the Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher against the Colorado Rockies on Memorial Day, didn’t have a memorable day — five runs and eight hits in six innings.

Guess what? He was the winning pitcher because his teammates put on their hitting shoes and rescued him, 11-8.

But after giving up four runs in the third inning to fall behind, 5-1, he retired 10 of the last 12 he faced while the Reds made scrambled eggs out of the Rockies pitching staff.

WHAT WAS SO heart-warming for the Reds was that four guys struggling mightily provided much of the offense.

Zack Cozart, 0 for 18, hit the first pitch of the game out of the park against Rockies starter Chad Bettis. And he finished the day with three hits.

Eugenio Suarez, 0 for 28 when the day began, produced two hits, including a home run.

Joey Votto, residing ignominiously at near the .200 level with his batting average, contributed a two-run double and a home run.

Billy Hamilton had three hits and scored two runs and covered the expansive Coors outfield like a tarpaulin on a stormy day.

Adam Duvall, who is not struggling, cracked two home runs, 13 for the year and 12 in May, most in the majors.

AFTER FALLING BEHIND, 5-1, the Reds outscored the Rockies 10-0 until Tony Cingrani gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a two-run home run to Carlos Gonzalez and couldn’t finish the inning. J.C. Ramirez had to come in to get the final out and record his first major-league save.

And there was a contribution by the bullpen, too. When the Reds owned just a two-run lead in the seventh, 7-5, the first two Rockies reached base against Blake Wood — second and third with no outs.

Wood retired power-hitting Mark Reynolds on a grounder to third and struck out Gerardo Parra on three pitches.

He walked Trevor Story on a nine-pitch at bat to fill the bases with two outs and Wood retired Daniel Descalso on a ground ball.

THE REDS THEN PUT it away in the eighth with three runs – a leadoff home run by Suarez and run-scoring singles by Coart and Ivan Dejesus Jr.

After Cozart’s first-pitch home run in the first, Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon hit Straily’s second pitch of the game for a home run in the bottom of the first to tie it, 1-1.

Straily retired the first two in the third then issued one of those unthinkable two- out walks. Four batters later, the Rockies led 5-1, three scoring on a double by third baseman Daniel Descalso, playing only because All-Star third baseman Nolan Arrenado took the day off.

Then came the Reds five-run fourth — double by Jay Bruce, home run by Duvall, single by Suarez, single by Billy Hamilton, a walk to Strailey on a 10-pitch at bat, a two-run ground rule double by Votto to tie it, 5-5, and an infield hit to deep shortstop by Brandon Phillips to put the Reds ahead for good.

So, to sum it up, the Reds had 11 runs, 17 hits, five home runs and three doubles, a truly memorable offensive afternoon

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