August 31, 1975 Cardinals 5, Reds 3 (90-45)
The Reds tried to come back from a 4-0 deficit but fell just short against the Cardinals. Jack Billingham was hit hard as he gave up three runs on six hits in only four innings of work. Clay Carroll had a hard time as well after relieving Billingham and the run he gave up ended up being the difference.
Despite ending the month on a losing note, the Reds went 21-8 through the month of August. It was the third straight month that they’d won 20 or more games.
August 30, 1975 Reds 3, Cardinals 2 (90-44)
The Reds won their sixth straight game and the 90th of the season in extra frames. Fred Norman went 8 1/3 and gave up only two runs on five hits while striking out five. Unfortunately he gave up the game tying run in the ninth that sent the game into extra frames.
In the tenth, Ken Griffey singled with one out. Then in an odd play, he was actually picked off of first base, but ended up being safe on a throwing error by Cards reliever Mike Garman and advanced all the way to third base. Joe Morgan and Tony Perez were walked intentionally to load up the bases but it was for naught because Johnny Bench drove home Griffey on a ground out.
With the month nearly over, the Reds had built up an insurmountable 19 1/2 lead over the Dodgers in the NL West. It was only a matter of when they’d clinch the division.
August 29, 1975 Reds 6, Cardinals 2 (89-44)
Gary Nolan improved to 12-8 as he helped the Red win their fifth straight game. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up nine hits and two runs. Will McEnaney pitched the final 2 2/3 to earn his thirteenth save of the season.
August 28, 1975 Reds 4, Cardinals 0 (88-44)
Don Gullett got back on track as the Red won their fourth game in a row. He went the distance and gave up only five hits and three walks while striking out four.
The Reds scored three of their four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Darrel Chaney struck out and Don Gullett flew out to center. Pete Rose singled and was driven in on a Ken Griffey triple. Griffey then scored on Al Hrabosky’s wild pitch. Still unable to find his command, the Mad Hungarian walked Joe Morgan and Tony Perez before Johnny Bench singled home Morgan for another insurance run.
Don’t look now, but the Reds are in fourth place. It doesn’t mean much, but it puts an exclamation point on how well they’ve played in this second half (and also how bad they played in the first).
Ken Griffey had a monster series. He hit two homers on Friday and then added his 33rd today. This afternoon’s homer was his 534th career homer, allowing him to tie up Jimmie Foxx for 13th all time. Congrats once again Grif.
Also key to the Reds sweep was some quality pitching. In all, the Reds only gave up five runs over the weekend. Aaron Harang improved to 9-11 on Friday with seven quality innings. On Saturday, the Reds needed extra frames to win, but their pitching kept them in the game. Eric Milton had one of his best starts of the season as he went eight and gave up only six hits. This afternoon it was Luke Hudson and four reliever who combined to give up only eight hits and two runs. Hudson evened out his record to 6-6.
The Reds are now six games below .500, a mark I thought was completely out of reach at the All Star break. We get to play spoiler this week as we head to Houston. Hopefully we won’t have to face Roy Oswalt (he owns us, I’m willing to admit it). He threw on Saturday, so we might just miss him.
Please, let’s miss him.
August 27, 1975 Reds 6, Cubs 5 (87-44)
The Reds pulled out a close 6-5 win over the Cubs despite stranding fourteen men. They had fifteen hits (all singles) and six walks, yet they scored just six runs, which turned out to be just enough to pull of the win.
Ken Griffey was four for six with two RBIs and a run and Pete Rose was one for three with three walks and three runs. Starter Pat Darcy only made it through three innings before Sparky had to resort to the pen. Pedro Borbon effectively got a spot start as he pitched five innings and gave up only four hits and one run to improve to 8-4. Rawly Eastwick earned his seventeenth save by getting the final batter out in the ninth.
August 26, 1975 Reds 6, Cubs 5 (86-44)
The Reds came back from 4-0 and 5-2 deficits to pull out a nice come from behind win. Johnny Bench’s two run homer in the sixth shaved the Cubs lead to a single run. In the ninth inning, the Reds had nobody on and two outs before Terry Crowley singled and stole second base. Pete Rose walked and Ken Griffey singled to load up the bases. Then Joe Morgan singled to drive in two runs to put the Reds up 6-5.
Jack Billingham was shelled early, but the pen did a nice job to allow the Reds to stage their comeback. Rawly Eastwick struck out three in two perfect innings to improve to 3-2 and Will McEnaney shut the Cubs down in the ninth to earn his twelth save of the season.
Boy, the Nationals have really fallen off of their pedestal. They’re now in last place, and to add insult to injury, the struggling Reds rolled into RFK and took two of three against the Nats.
On Tuesday, Luke Hudson got the job done. Seven innings of four hit ball, and the kid struck out five guys. EE hit his fifth homer of the season and six different Reds scored their six runs.
Wednesday was the downer day. Ramon Ortiz actually threw a good game, but the pen let him down. Jason Standridge gave up three runs in his inning of work. Felipe Lopez had three hits, but he was caught stealing twice. Javier Valentin drove in two of the Reds three runs with his eleventh homerun.
This afternoon’s game was highlighted by Ken Griffey’s 30th homer of the season. Brandon Claussen threw a nice game and improved to 9-8 (yes, that’s a winning record, for those Reds fans who haven’t seen one in a while) and Austin Kearns drove in two runs.
The win today puts us nine games below .500 and with only four more wins, we guarantee we won’t lose 100 games (which at one point seemed to be a foregone conclusion). We’re only two back of the Cubs for fourth place in the NL Central. We’d be in second place if we played in the West.
Pittsburgh is on deck this weekend and they’ve been playing some rough baseball. I think two of three is a solid prediction. Reds rock. At least this half they do.
August 25, 1975 Reds 11, Cubs 4 (85-44)
Darrel Chaney drove in four runs and hit his first homer of the season as the Reds put eleven runs and 19 hits on the board. Eight different Reds had multihit games and George Foster had three hits and three runs.
Fred Norman had a respectable outing as he improved to 9-4. He went 5 1/3 and gave up four runs on seven hits and he struck out five. Clay Carroll finished the game and earned his seventh save of the season.
August 24, 1975 Pirates 5, Reds 1 (84-44)
The Reds outhit the Pirates nine to five but they stranded seven men in their loss to the Pirates. Jerry Reuss held the Reds to eight singles and a double as he walked away with the win. Starter Gary Nolan got hit hard early in the game and by the end of the three innings, the Reds were down 4-1.
Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Merv Rettenmund all had two hits in the game, but none of them scored. The Pirates in the meantime improved their lead over the Phillies to three games in the NL East.