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AZ 6, Reds 2 - Red Dead

Record: 58-66. Change on last year: +20

As I start writing this, today's game is still going on - it's in the eighth innings. I've got to get off to work within the hour, so I think I'll ignore Sunday's game, and get caught up with that later tonight and/or tomorrow.

It was Javy the Ace who turned up yesterday, and his performance led to a notable spurt for the 'Keep!' faction in our poll. It looked wobbly in the first, with the Reds scoring on a walk and two hits, but Vazquez only allowed three baserunners, all singles, in seven shutout innings after that, and two of those were erased on double-plays.

Vazquez was phenomenally economical, throwing only 77 pitches through eight innings - if we hadn't scored five runs in the eighth and ninth, I could see Vazquez going ten or eleven frames. More surprisingly, given his previous stats, was Javy getting 15 groundball outs. He has apparently been doing extra work with pitching coach Mark Davis on keeping the ball down, and it certainly paid off yesterday.

"I felt great, but nothing special," said Vazquez - and that's the attitude we need, because eight innings of one-run ball should be nothing special for someone earning his kind of salary. It should, pretty much, be what we get every time. "We needed that for the team and I needed that for myself, especially after the last game in Atlanta," Vazquez said. No question there, either.

Our offense did their usual trick, showing up fashionably late: we scored only one run through seven innings. However, Clayton walked to start the eighth and Gonzo followed with a single. Interesting insight from Reds' reliever Standridge: "I totally put way too much pressure on myself, and it hurt me. "That's why I walked Clayton. I was trying to aim the ball, instead of being aggressive. My mental preparation wasn't what it needed to be. I was trying to be preventative. I was thinking, I want to keep them from scoring runs, instead of saying, just go after them."

Indeed, it was more gofer than goafter, because Tony Clark - who else? - then blew it open with a three-run shot in the eighth, and we tacked another couple on in the ninth. Valverde came in to replace Vazquez, in a non-save situation, and allowed a run on two hits and a walk, perhaps partly because it was his first outing in five days.

Counsell and Green both had three hits - Craig also stole two bases, extending his career high in that category to 21 - while Clark added a double to his three-run homer. After Friday's humiliating ordeal, we bounced back very nicely to level the series and...oh, who am I kidding. If you're reading this, you already know how today's game went, so I'm not going to try and build any tension for that. :-)

Okay, time to head off to the daily grind, I'm afraid, so I'll cut this one short. If things are quiet, I'll perhaps use my lunch-hour - all 30 minutes of it - to write up this morning's game. This is not a prospect which fills me with enthuasiasm, as you can probably imagine. Still, I'll try and find some new ways to say "we lost" and "our bullpen sucked". Where's my Serbo-Croat dictionary...?