By Cristian Nunez
In an extra winning victory over the New York Mets, the Cincinnati Reds not only secured a place in the playoffs but also managed to put themselves back in the hunt for the National League Division championship Monday night.
The Reds went up two runs on the former Reds pitcher, Aaron Harang, in the second inning. Harang answered back by running into home base, thanks to Lucas Duda’s sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Mets laid on another with a one—run homer by Duda.
Johnny Cueto proved himself on the mound, only allowing two runs on the night and keeping a Reds victory in sight. Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall, Aroldis Chapmen and Manny Para came in to help finish the game for Cueto. Sam Lecure allowed two hits in the eighth but left with an out. Big Sean Marshall came in to face the lefty Lucas Duda, and gave the Reds a scoreless eighth inning. Chapmen showed what he is known for best in the ninth: HEAT! Let’s just say 100 miles per hour on the radar was not an uncommon sight.
The Reds squandered an opportunity to put the game away stranding Shin-Soo Choo on third base. But in the bottom of the 10th, Devin Mesoraco hit a one out single, then Derrick Robinson followed with another, putting runners at the corners. Choo put the game away with a high flying ball into the warning tracks to knock in the game winning run!
Despite securing a place in the playoffs and keeping themselves in the hunt for the division championship, Reds manager Dusty Baker cautioned his players, advising them not to celebrate just yet. Coach Baker said, “We got five big games to go.”
Although things look promising going forward for the Reds, Pitcher Johnny Cueto is back and better than ever before after missing most of the season due to injury. Sean Marshall, an effective reliever for the Reds was out for much of the season as well but, fortunately, was able to come back after intense rehabilitation alongside Cueto. The run-producing Ryan Ludwick, after injuring himself on opening day, missed three months of the 2013 season. But he has come back to give the Reds offense a much missed boost.
But Dusty Baker is right. The Reds have their work cut out for them if they want keep up with the first place St Louis Cardinals while being tied with the resurgent Pittsburg Pirates. Both the Reds and the Pirates are two games out of first place and it is yet to be decided who gets to host the Wild Card game on October 1st. The score will be settled at Great American Ball Park with a three-game series starting Friday.