June 3, 1976 at Astrodome
Astros 5, Reds 3 (29-19)
The Reds gave rookie starter Santo Alcala a three run cushion in the top of the first inning, but the Astros slowly got themselves back into the game. They tied things up in the fifth, then took the lead in the seventh. In the meantime, the Reds managed only four hits after that big three run first inning and Alcala notched his first loss of the season.
Alcala dropped to 5-1 and gave up five runs on seven hits and six walks in 6 2/3 innings of work. Joe Morgan accounted for all of the Reds offense as his three run homerun gave the Reds that early lead. Pete Rose and Cesar Geronimo both had two hits.
I found it interesting that when I rail on the Reds sputtering offense they open up a can and score 14 runs and 15 hits on the Astros in the very next game. I must now test the theory that this modest blog is spurring my beloved Red Legs to greatness. I shall do that with a very simple rant: “How long has it been since a Reds player hit for the cycle? I mean, sheesh…”
There you go. Brandon Phillips – hit your cycle tonight and I’ll join the ranks of Miss Cleo, Psychic Friends Network and Nostradamus. I shall be watching. Always watching.
One other note – it was cool seeing the roof close during the game last night. I could tell the cameramen and producers were transfixed by it too. I once saw the dome close in Toronto – it’s amazing to see such a massive structure move, even if it’s slower than a Lincoln Continental changing lanes in South Florida.
June 2, 1976 at Astrodome
Reds 8, Astros 7 (29-18)
The Reds took a big early lead, gave it up, then came from behind to guarantee at least a split with the Astros in their four game series. The Astros started things out with a single run in the first inning off of starter Jack Billingham. The Reds answered in the third with five runs, but the Astros shaved the lead down to a single run with three runs in the third as Billingham was replaced by Sparky in favor of Fred Norman.
The Reds added a a run in the sixth to make it 6-4, but the Astros blasted Norman in the bottom half of the inning for three runs. It seems like every time the Reds pushed the lead out, the Astros answered, and this time, the Reds actually gave up the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Dave Concepcion flew out and Mike Lum, who was batting for Rawly Eastwick, singled. Ken Griffey ran for Lum, and Pete Rose moved him to third with a double. Joe Morgan then tied the game with a sac. fly, before Tony Perez came up with a huge clutch single to give the Reds their lead back.
Will McEnaney had his best outing to date as he threw three scoreless innings to close the game out. He improved to 1-2 on the season. Pete Rose had three hits and three runs, while Tony Perez finished the game with three hits and three RBIs.
June 1, 1976 at Astrodome
Astros 2, Reds 1 (28-18)
The Reds scored a single run on no hits in the first inning and only managed two more hits the rest of the game and a great outing by Pat Zachry went to waste. Pete Rose led off the first with a walk and then moved to second on Cesar Geronimo’s ground out. Joe Morgan and Tony Perez then drew back to back walks to load the bases up, and then George Foster hit a sac. fly to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.
The Astros scored a run in the third then the go ahead run in the sixth to take the lead for good. The Reds didn’t get their first hit the fifth inning when Doug Flynn singled. Tony Perez singled with two outs in the ninth to account for the other hit.
Zachry lost his first game of the season and dropped to 4-1. He gave up two runs on four hits and four walks with seven strikeouts. Pedro Borbon held the Astros scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to finish things up for the Reds.
May 31, 1976 at the Astrodome
Reds 4, Astros 2 (28-17)
The Reds ended the month of May on a winning note as George Foster’s two run shot in the fifth gave the Reds the lead for good. Joe Morgan doubled, tripled, scored a run and had one RBI and Pete Rose had two hits and a run.
Pat Darcy moved his record up to 2-3 on the season. He gave up two runs on six hits and four walks in five innings of work. Rawly Eastwick held the Astros hitless in the final two frames and he earned his sixth save of the season.
May 30, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Dodgers 6, Reds 5 (26-17)
The Reds dropped the front end of their Sunday doubleheader with the Dodgers in a close game. The Reds jumped out to a 5-3 after four innings, but the Dodgers picked away at the lead and scored the go ahead run off of Rawly Eastwick in the top of the ninth inning.
Gary Nolan was hit hard and didn’t even make it through the fifth inning. He gave up four runs on seven hits with four walks. Eastwick dropped to 3-3 on the season and he already matched last year’s number of losses.
The Reds ran all over catcher Joe Ferguson. In total, the Reds stole nine bases, including four by Ken Griffey and two by Johnny Bench. Dave Concepcion went three for four with two runs and Eddie Armbrister went three for four with a run and stolen base.
May 30, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 7, Dodgers 2 (27-17)
Santo Alcala continued his hot streak as he improved to a perfect 5-0. The rookie gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Will McEnaney held the Dodgers scoreless in the final three frames to earn his first save of the season.
May 29, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 6, Dodgers 5 (26-16)
The Reds topped the Dodgers with a huge late inning rally. The Reds actually got on the board in the first inning to take an early lead. Pete Rose flew out to lead off the inning then Ken Griffey walked and stole second. Joe Morgan then doubled him Griffey home and later scored on George Foster’s triple.
Jack Billingham ran into some problems in the second inning and gave up three runs and the lead. He gave up another run in both the third and fourth innings and the Dodgers looked like they were going to cruise to an easy lead. In the meantime, Dodger starter Rick Rhoden was handling the Reds pretty easily after running into those problems in the first inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Reds finally showed some life. Tony Perez hit a solo homerun to make it a 5-3 game.
In the bottom of the ninth and with Rhoden still on the mound, Dave Concepcion led off with single and Tommy Lasorda gave the ball to Mike Marshall out of the pen. Cesar Geronimo then singled and moved Concepcion to second base, and then Eddie Armbrister bunted both men over to put the tying run at second base. Pete Rose grounded out to Marshall to make it two outs and things were looking grim, but then Ken Griffey came up with a huge clutch triple that drove home both baserunners and tied the game. Joe Morgan followed that up with a single and Griffey scored to put the game away.
It was the first time the Reds were 10 games over .500 this season.
De Señor Diesel
Okay – that’s as far as my 12th grade Spanish will get me. Capping an otherwise forgettable series, the Reds stole a game today from Arizona off their closer in the 9th. I took an unscheduled nap this afternoon in the 8th inning and witnessed the following through groggy eyes:
SLEEPING – Wake up and Ryan Freel throws out a runner at the plate.
SLEEPING (with cat under arm) – Wake up and Scott Hatteberg hits a 2-run HR.
SLEEPING (small amount of drool now) – Wake up and Javier Valentin is crossing home plate and getting mugged.
UNCONSCIOUS SLEEP – Wake up and Barry Bonds just hit HR 715.
What productive sleep! When I retire in 35 years and can take naps all day between applesauce and Matlock, the Reds will have the first ever undefeated baseball season!
May 28, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 9, Dodgers 0 (25-16)
The Reds ran up the score and blew out the Dodgers at home. Joe Morgan and George Foster both had two hits, homeruns and three RBIs. Johnny Bench went three for four with a homerun, two runs and an RBI.
Pat Zachry threw a five hit shutout and improved to 4-0 on the season. He walked two and struck out nine.