By HAL McCOY
It was a familiar modus operandi for the Cincinnati Reds Saturday night in Great American Ball Park.
They scored runs early and then shut it down.
Fortunately for them on this night, the bullpen took command and shut down the Colorado Rockies for a 3-1 victory.
After starter Anthony DeSclafani held the high-explosive Rockies offense to one run over five innings, Wandy Peralta, Michael Lorenzen and, yes, even Raisel Iglesias wiped the slate clean.
The offense? Hot-hitting Josh VanMeter cracked a solo home run in the second. Then Eugenio Suarez launched a two-run 432-foot down range missile into the upper deck in the third for a 3-0 lead. It was his 28th home run and it seems as if every home run he clobbers is meaningful. Of his 28 home runs, 11 have come in July.
The Rockies were fortunate to scrape one run off DeSclafani, who pushed his record to 6-and-5.
He pitched five-plus innings and gave up one run, four hits, walked three and struck out six.
Trevor Story led the fourth with an infield hit and moved to second on a balk. He took third on a fly ball and scored on Nolan Arenado’s sacrifice fly.
That was it. End of scoring for both teams.
DeSclafani started the sixth and gave up back-to-back no-out hits to David Dahl (an infield hit) Arenado, a line drive single to left.
Manager David Bell took the ball and put it into the left hand of Wandy Peralta. He retired three straight — a fly ball by Daniel Murphy, a fly ball by Ian Desmond and a weak grounder to first by Ryan McMahon.
Peralta retired the first hitter in the seventh, then Lorenzen took over and gave up a double to Raimel Tapia. Inexplicably, Tapia took off on a line drive to left by Charlie Blackmon. Left fielder Jesse Winker snagged the ball on the run and flipped to second for an inning-ending double play.
Lorenzen issued a one-out walk in the eighth but shortstop Jose Iglesias started a highlight-reel glove-flipping inning-ending double play.
That left it up to the much-troubled Raisel Iglesias to close it out in the ninth and he did it flawlessly and with aplomb. After Daniel Murphy grounde to short, Iglesias struck out Ian Desmond and Ryan McMahon. It was the 18th save in 20 opportunities for Iglesias.
The recent story, though, is Josh VanMeter, who has hit his way into the starting lineup. He played in the outfield Friday and played second base Saturday.
In addition to his home run he also had a single. He has homered in three straight games. Since the All-Star break VanMeter is 11 for 22 with four home runs, six RBI and four runs scored.
Left hander Alex Wood makes his Reds pitching debut Sunday afternoon as the Reds try to take the series after losing Friday, 12-2.