|Cincinnati (42-33) «||1||0||0||0||2||3||0||0||x||6||8||0|
CINCINNATI -- The shiny Ohio Cup will stay in the southern part of the state for another year -- not that Cincinnati really cares all that much.
The first-place Reds have much grander trophies in mind.
Laynce Nix singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning Saturday night and came around to score on a jarring dive into home, rallying the Reds to their fifth straight win, 6-4 over the Cleveland Indians.
Nix's single off Justin Masterson (2-7) was the turning point to a ragged game on a hot, humid night. Cincinnati held on for its fourth victory in five games this season against their free-falling intrastate rival.
"I don't think we don't put too much stock in the Ohio Cup," Nix said. "We want to win this game. But it's better to win [the trophy] than not."
They're on a nice little surge.
Cincinnati has moved it back into first place in the NL Central, a half-game ahead of St. Louis. The Reds haven't been in first so late in a season since 1999, the last time they made a serious run at the postseason. They lost a one-game playoff to the Mets that year for the NL wild card.
In that context, beating the Indians is secondary stuff.
"The bigger thing is returning to first place," manager Dusty Baker said.
Cleveland is marooned in last. The Indians have lost a season-high seven in a row and 11 of 12, falling a season-low 21 games under .500. They have the third-worst record in the majors at 26-47, on pace to lose 100 games only three years after they won the AL Central and came within one victory of the World Series.
"We may not be as talented as some teams, so we have to do the little things," Masterson said.
They don't do those very well.
Masterson committed his fifth error on a pickoff throw -- the Indians lead the AL with 56 of them -- and threw a pair of wild pitches while giving up a 3-1 lead. The Indians also had a runner caught in a rundown between second and third on a botched steal attempt.
Ugly all around.
Reds rookie starter Sam LeCure faded fast on a sticky, 88-degree evening with no breeze, failing to make it through the fourth inning. Pitchers regularly worked deep into counts, struggling to keep their hands dry so they could get a grip on their pitches.
"I think it was more the humidity than the heat," LeCure said. "A couple of balls slipped a little bit."
Danny Herrera (1-3) got the final out in the sixth. Left-hander Arthur Rhodes pitched the seventh, tying a major-league record with his 33rd straight scoreless appearance. Francisco Cordero gave up a two-out RBI single by Austin Kearns in the ninth before fanning Shelley Duncan for his 20th save in 25 tries.
The Reds have dominated the intrastate rivalry in the last three years, going 13-4.
The game drew 37,757 fans, some of whom tried to start a wave during the top of the sixth inning to amuse themselves. It ended fast -- much too hot to move around.
Then, Nix got them on their feet.
His single put the Reds up 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. He eventually scored from third on Miguel Cairo's sacrifice fly, going headfirst into the plate behind catcher Carlos Santana, who had to move to get the throw. Nix expected him to block the plate and planned to go in hard.
"I was ready," he said.
Santana was back in the lineup a day after he jammed his left thumb and left Cincinnati's 10-3 win. Santana doubled home a run in the first inning. Anderson Hernandez doubled home two more in the fourth off LeCure, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings -- the shortest of his six starts -- while giving up six hits and four walks.
|Anderson Hernandez and the Indians have lost 11 of 12 and are 21 games below .500. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Trevor Crowe, CF||4||1||1||0||1||0||3||.255|
|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||3||1||0||0||2||1||2||.283|
|Carlos Santana, C||3||0||1||1||2||1||1||.318|
|Austin Kearns, LF||5||0||2||1||0||1||2||.279|
|Russell Branyan, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||.263|
|a- Shelley Duncan, PH-1B||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.269|
|Jhonny Peralta, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.260|
|Jayson Nix, 2B||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.170|
|Anderson Hernandez, SS||4||0||1||2||0||0||2||.270|
|Justin Masterson, P||2||0||1||0||0||1||1||.250|
|Frank Herrmann, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Rafael Perez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chris Perez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Travis Hafner, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.248|
|a-flied out for Branyan in the 7th|
|b-grounded out for Perez in the 9th|
|2B - Carlos Santana (7, LeCure), Russell Branyan (9, Owings), Jayson Nix (2, LeCure), Anderson Hernandez (2, LeCure)|
|SH - Justin Masterson (1)|
|RBI - Carlos Santana (13), Austin Kearns (33), Anderson Hernandez 2 (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Austin Kearns (14)|
|SB - Shin-Soo Choo (12, 2nd base off LeCure/Hernandez)|
|CS - Shin-Soo Choo (4, 3rd base by LeCure/Hernandez)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|E - Justin Masterson (5, Throwing)|
|Justin Masterson (L,2-7)||5||6||6||6||4||2||0||5.21|
|WP - Justin Masterson 2 (6)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Masterson 88-54, Frank Herrmann 17-11, Rafael Perez 6-5, Chris Perez 11-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Masterson 7-6, Frank Herrmann 1-2, Rafael Perez 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Justin Masterson 25, Frank Herrmann 6, Rafael Perez 2, Chris Perez 3|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||3||0||2||1||1||0||0||.312|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.242|
|Joey Votto, 1B||3||0||0||1||1||0||1||.301|
|Scott Rolen, 3B||3||0||1||1||1||0||4||.303|
|Jay Bruce, RF||4||1||1||0||0||1||4||.287|
|Laynce Nix, LF||4||1||1||1||0||0||3||.240|
|Drew Stubbs, CF||3||2||1||0||1||1||0||.237|
|Ramon Hernandez, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.281|
|Sam LeCure, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.100|
|Micah Owings, P||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||.231|
|Danny Herrera, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Miguel Cairo, PH||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||.279|
|Arthur Rhodes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Nick Masset, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jonny Gomes, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.290|
|Francisco Cordero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-hit a sacrifice fly for Herrera in the 6th|
|b-struck out for Masset in the 8th|
|SF - Miguel Cairo (1)|
|SH - Ramon Hernandez (2)|
|RBI - Brandon Phillips (25), Joey Votto (48), Scott Rolen (49), Laynce Nix (12), Micah Owings (3), Miguel Cairo (10)|
|2-OUT RBI - Brandon Phillips (10), Scott Rolen (15)|
|CS - Brandon Phillips (8, 2nd base by Herrmann/Santana)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - B. Phillips-Cabrera-Votto|
|Danny Herrera (W,1-3)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.86|
|Arthur Rhodes (H,14)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||0.28|
|Nick Masset (H,9)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||6.06|
|Francisco Cordero (S,20)||1||2||1||1||1||1||0||4.25|
|WP - Francisco Cordero (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Sam LeCure 74-39, Micah Owings 36-22, Danny Herrera 4-2, Arthur Rhodes 18-8, Nick Masset 12-8, Francisco Cordero 26-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sam LeCure 2-5, Micah Owings 2-1, Danny Herrera 1-0, Nick Masset 3-0, Francisco Cordero 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Sam LeCure 19, Micah Owings 8, Danny Herrera 1, Arthur Rhodes 4, Nick Masset 3, Francisco Cordero 6|
|Attendance - 37757|
|Game Time - 3:09|
|Temperature - 88|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Brian Gorman|