August 31, 1976 at Busch Stadium
Reds 6, Cardinals 5 (84-49)
The Reds ended August on a winning note, and they did it with a big five run seventh inning. Joe Morgan and Cesar Geronimo both drove in two runs in the win, and Pete Rose went three for five with two runs and an RBI.
Over the course of six days, the Reds went from being tied for first place and having a marginal lead for the Wild Card to 4 1/2 games back and having two teams blow by them. For the first time in a long time, the Reds are on the outside looking in. I guess I’ve been expecting this to happen for a while (i.e. the slide) but for it to happen this late is, well, disconcerting.
This time it was all at the expense of the Dodgers. Todd Hollandsworth and Brandon Phillips were our offense on Monday. Phillips homered and drove in two runs while Hollandsworth had two hits and three RBIs. Chris Michalak was the starter and he was pegged for four runs over four innings. Todd Coffey didn’t help when he gave up two runs in the seventh.
On Tuesday, the Reds took the lead in the sixth on Brandon Phillips RBI single and then Mark Belisle gave up a run in the bottom half of the inning and the game was tied. Then neither team scored for ten innings as the game went well into extra frames. The death blow was Ramon Martinez’s solo homerun off of Ryan Franklin.
Yesterday, the Reds ran into a pretty good Greg Maddux and while Aaron Harang was only okay, it was a collapse by the bullpen that put this game out of reach. Jason LaRue homered and Ken Griffey, Jr. and Edwin Encarncion both had two hits and one run.
Where are you Adam Dunn?
Next up is a huge three game series with the Padres, who now currently lead the Wild Card race. There’s no better way to make up ground then to beat that top team. It’s put up or shut the F up time.
August 30, 1976 at Busch Stadium
Cardinals 7, Reds 1 (83-49)
The Reds must have been tired after their fifteen inning game the night before, and it showed. It didn’t help that Will McEnaney gave up five runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
The Reds scored their only run when Pete Rose came home on a double play in the first inning. Rose had two hits and the Reds didn’t manage a single walk.
August 29, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 6, Phillies 5 (83-48)
The Reds gave their home fans their moneys worth in this fifteen inning thriller. The Phillies jumped out to 4-1 lead in the top of the sixth, but the Reds shaved that lead to a single run with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Neither team scored in the seventh or eighth and Manny Sarmiento held the Phillies in check in the top of the ninth.
Dan Driessen led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk and then stole second base. Pete Rose singled and Driessen moved to the third. Then Ken Griffey hit a grounder to the catcher and Driessen was gunned down at the plate. With Griffey on first and Rose at second, Joe Morgan lined out to make it two outs. Then George Foster struck out but the ball got past Tim McCarver. Foster hustled to first and beat the throw, then Pete Rose scored the tying run all the way from second base because relief pitcher Ron Reed wasn’t covering the plate. So what should have been an inning ending strike out turned into a play that cost the Phillies the game.
Neither team scored in the first three extra frames. The Philies scored in the top of the thirteenth to put the Reds behind when they came to bat in the bottom half of the inning.
Dave Concepcion and Cesar Geronimo hit back to back singles before Eddie Armbrister sturck out. Pete Rose then hit a grounded to short and Geronimo was forced out second. Concepcion, thinking the ball got through the infield for a hit, turned third and went home. Fortunately the throw was low and what could have cost the Reds the game turned out tying it for them.
Neither team scored in the fourteenth and Santo Alcala held the Phillies scoreless in the fifteenth. Cesar Geronimo led off the fifteenth with a walk and moved to second on Cesar Geronimo’s single. Alcala struck out trying to bunt both batters over, but Rose got the job done after grounding out. Then Ken Griffey ended the game with a walk off RBI single.
Man, they were there. I know it was just a day, but they were there. And what a difference a weekend makes. Now the Reds are clinging to a half game lead for the Wild Card (over the Padres), fighting for their lives against the NL West leading Dodgers.
Thursday seemed so long ago, but the Reds won that day. The Reds came back from three down to tie it in the seventh. Then in the eighth, David Ross hit a solo shot to put the Reds ahead for good. Edwin Encarnacion had three hits, two RBIs and one run. Juan Castro drove in two runs in the 6-3 win. Ryan Franklin picked up the win and David Weathers notched his tenth save of the season.
It all went downhill from there. In the next three games, all the Reds could muster were two runs. Ken Griffey hit a solo homerun in the first inning on Friday and then David Ross hit a solo homerun on Saturday. When you score two runs in three days, you’re not going to win too often.
Next up is the Dodgers. I hate the color blue. Hopefully the Reds do too.
August 28, 1976 at Riverfront stadium
Reds 8, Phillies 7 (82-48)
The Reds pen gave up five runs total in the eighth and ninth innings and gave up the lead only to have the Reds score two runs in the bottom of the ninth to put the game away.
Rawly Eastwick gave up the go ahead run but got bailed out by the Reds offense. He improved to 9-4 on the season. All four Reds pitchers gave up at least one run.
August 27, 1976 at Riverfront stadium
Reds 4, Phillies 1 (81-48)
The Reds ended their three game skid with strong pitching performances by Fred Norman and Pedro Borbon. Norman improved to 12-4 on the season and gave up only a single runs on six hits. Pedro Borbon was even better and he held the Phillies to only a single hit in four innings en route to his fifth save of the season.
Joe Morgan went two for three with two RBIs, two runs and three stolen bases. In one of the most heads up plays you’ll ever see, Morgan stole two bases on the same pitch. He was on second base and he and Johnny Bench attempted a double steal. Morgan’s jump was so good that by the time the ball got to second base, Morgan rounded third and scored before the second baseman could get the ball home. Pete Rose scored the other two runs after doubling twice.
August 26, 1976 at Rivefront Stadium
Phillies 5, Reds 4 (80-48)
The Reds came back from a 4-1 deficit in the eighth inning only to send the game into extra frames, where they lost it in the thirteenth. Rawly Eastwick gave up the winning run in his fourth inning of work and he dropped to 8-4 on the season.
Hooray. Forget that Wild Card thing. Man this has been a weird year. The Reds have been on the inside of playoff contention for a long time now. Hanging on for dear life. And now they’re back in first place with the Cardinals. Go Reds
August 24, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Cardinals 4, Reds 1 (80-47)
The Cardinals handed the Reds their second straight loss as Pete Falcone held the Reds to only five hits. Joe Morgan was a perfect two for two to extend his hitting streak to six games and he also walked twice.
Pat Zachry dropped to 11-5 on the season. He gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts.