Votto ended a long homer drought with his third career grand slam Tuesday night, powering the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-5 victory that ended the Detroit Tigers‘ longest winning streak in two years.
Votto came to bat with the bases loaded in the third inning of a scoreless game. A black bird wandered between the plate and the pitcher’s mound, prompting Votto to call time so he could try to shoo it away. The bird stayed in the middle of the infield.
”He was in the line of vision and I was going to try to swat it away,” Votto said. ”I was thinking, `Make sure to hit the ball in the air’ and `Don’t hit it on the ground up the middle.’ I was taking care of the bird.”
Votto’s high fly ball to right field off Matthew Boyd (4-5) had just enough to avoid the outstretched glove of Nicholas Castellanos, who reached over the wall and barely missed it. Votto flapped his arms in tribute to the bird when he crossed the plate on his first homer since May 13, ending a 30-game drought.
Votto’s last homer at Great American Ball Park was May 6. He has seven homers after hitting 36 last season, one shy of his career high.
”I would like to think it’s all part of the season,” Votto said. ”I felt good. I have felt good. I’ve been swinging the bat well.”
Sal Romano (4-7) had a second straight solid outing, limiting the Tigers to four singles over seven shutout innings. Billy Hamilton also homered as the Reds pulled away to a 9-0 lead.
The Tigers had won five straight and moved within a game of .500. They haven’t been to the break-even mark since they were a season-best 4-4 on April 8. They’ve wasted five chances to get back.
Romano was coming off perhaps his best performance in the majors. He went a career-high eight innings and gave up one run during a 5-1 win at Kansas City on Tuesday.
Trailing 9-0, Detroit finally broke through in the ninth when Wandy Peralta walked home a run and Leonys Martin followed with a double.
Boyd walked three batters in four innings – all of them scored – and gave up a season-high five runs. He was most upset with the two walks that set up the first grand slam he’s allowed in his career.
”Walks will kill you,” Boyd said. ”Things like that (grand slam) are going to happen in this ballpark [url=http://www.officialstarsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-jason-spezza-jersey]Jason Spezza Jersey[/url] , especially when the wind is blowing out.”
The Reds are 12-11 against the Tigers all-time. This season, the Tigers are 1-6 in interleague play. The Reds are 5-1.
BIRD IS THE WORD
The bird that wandered onto the field during Votto’s at-bat didn’t go away. It made a mound visit and later explored other parts of the field. Fans cheered when it was shown on the video board.
The outfield grass showed the effects of a concert at Great American Ball Park on Saturday, when high heat and the field covering left yellow patterns in the stressed grass.
Martin reached in all five plate appearances, going 3 for 3 with two walks. … Cincinnati’s Tucker Barnhart also reached in all five plate appearances, going 3 for 3 with a walk. He also was hit by a pitch. … Eugenio Suarez singled to extend his hitting streak to nine games, the longest active streak on the Reds and one shy of his career high.
The Reds called up RH reliever Jackson Stephens and optioned RH reliever Austin Brice to Triple-A Louisville. Stephens was 0-0 with a 4.20 ERA in nine appearances for the Reds earlier this season.
Tigers: Reliever Drew VerHagen left the game in the seventh after getting hit in the face with a throw while covering first base. He broke his nose and had it reset. Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Tigers were working on bringing up another reliever.
Reds: RH Homer Bailey will be re-examined on Tuesday. He’s been sidelined since June 2 with a sore right knee.
Tigers: Michael Fulmer (2-5) has gone seven innings and allowed one run in each of his last two starts. He’s never faced the Reds.
Reds: Tyler Mahle (5-6) is 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA in three starts in June, allowing two runs in 16 1/3 innings. He’s never faced the Tigers.
At a time when the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ rotation is in flux, left-hander Patrick Corbin could do well to give them a good start Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
Arizona expects several injured starters to return soon, and roster decisions are coming. Corbin’s spot would not seem to be in jeopardy, but he is coming off some inconsistent performances.
In early May, he was 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA. He goes into Friday’s start with a 6-3 record and a 3.48 ERA and is expected to be matched against Pittsburgh’s Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.42).
Corbin has given up at least five runs in three of his past four starts [url=http://www.officialstarsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-john-klingberg-jersey]John Klingberg Jersey[/url] , including five against the Pirates at home on June 11.
In his most recent outing, a 5-1 loss to the New York Mets on Saturday, he gave up all five runs on eight hits in six innings.
“Just a couple mistakes there,” Corbin said of the game against the Mets. “If I locate better, different outcome.”
Corbin, who is 1-2 with a 5.90 ERA in five career starts against Pittsburgh, hasn’t been completely off lately. He has 19 strikeouts in his past 16 2/3 innings.
But against the Mets he could not pinpoint his curveball or his fastball.
“I just thought the pitch sequencing was a little bit off, and I thought there were a lot of fastball mistakes out over the plate that were hit, and they were handled by the Mets,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Didn’t really get to the secondary stuff the way he typically does, and I think it’s more a product of the game plan and sequencing.”
Lovullo hasn’t lost confidence in Corbin.
“Worrisome? No. Not an issue for me whatsoever. We know that the season is going to have good and bad moments,” he said.
The Diamondbacks (41-33) cruised to a 9-3 win in the series opener Thursday as the Pirates (36-38) lost for the third time in four games.
Pittsburgh dropped two of three last week at Arizona.
Nova was initially scheduled to start Thursday [url=http://www.officialstarsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-mattias-janmark-jersey]Mattias Janmark Jersey[/url] , but the Pirates opted to move everyone back a day when Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee was rained out, rather than do any shuffling with his rotation.
“This group right here has shown the ability to be flexible, to be resilient and also shown some benefits from an extra day (of rest) every now and then,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
It didn’t pan out that way. Chad Kuhl, who started the opener against Arizona after warming up several times Wednesday when there was false hope that the game against Milwaukee would be played, got rocked by the Diamondbacks for eight runs in two-plus innings.
Nova is coming off two good starts, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA since he was removed from the disabled list (sprained finger).
On Saturday, he struggled with his curveball, but it didn’t stop him from allowing just one run and five hits in six innings of a 6-2 win over Cincinnati.
“Even though I walked a couple guys, the fastball command is better than what it was before I hit the DL,” Nova said. “I think I’ve been able to control it a bit better. I think that’s been the key.”
Nova is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three career starts against the Diamondbacks.