Gonzalez gives short-handed Reds win over Tribe
Published 2:01 am Tuesday, May 26, 2009
CINCINNATI (AP) — Minus their two biggest bats, the Cincinnati Reds counted on an eighth-place hitter who was barely at .200.
Alex Gonzalez delivered.
Gonzalez doubled home the winning run with one out in the 11th inning and the Reds defeated the Cleveland Indians 4-3 to win the all-Ohio series.
The Reds won after first baseman Joey Votto was scratched from the lineup with a recurrence of the dizziness that forced him to miss 10 starts earlier this month. They also were missing second baseman Brandon Phillips, who had an NL-leading 27 RBIs in May before breaking his thumb Saturday night.
‘‘Guys have to pull together during tough times,’’ Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ‘‘Things will get going our way soon.’’
The Reds took two of three. Carlos Fisher (1-0), Cincinnati’s fifth pitcher, pitched a scoreless 11th to get the win in his major league debut.
Ramon Hernandez led off the Reds’ 11th with a single against Luis Vizcaino (1-2), and pinch-runner Paul Janish moved up on Adam Rosales’ sacrifice.
Gonzalez followed by lining a 3-2 pitch over the head of center fielder Grady Sizemore for his third RBI of the game.
‘‘They kept pitching me away, away, away,’’ Gonzalez said. ‘‘They weren’t going to pitch me inside. It was a slider, middle away.’’
Gonzalez, who missed nine games earlier this month with a strained muscle in his left side, extended his hitting streak to five games and boosting his batting average from .206 to .225.
‘‘We knew (Gonzalez) was better than he’d been doing,’’ Baker said. ‘‘It was a matter of him getting some reps. Other people were down on him, but we weren’t. He’s just now approaching 100 at-bats — and a lot of consecutive at bats.’’
Cleveland was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, which didn’t escape Cleveland manager Eric Wedge’s notice.
‘‘The bullpen’s done a good job lately,’’ Wedge said. ‘‘The difference in this game was not getting the big hit.’’
Down 3-1, the Indians tied it in the seventh on an unusual play.
Sizemore hit an RBI triple, and tried to score on the play when the relay throw got through Rosales at third base. Left fielder Jonny Gomes ran in, retrieved the ball near the dugout and threw home to get Sizemore at the plate.
Third base umpire Rob Drake, however, ruled that Rosales obstructed Sizemore on the way home and awarded the tying run to the Indians. Rosales was charged with an error.
‘‘The umpire didn’t say a word to me,’’ Rosales said. ‘‘I try not to talk to umpires. I didn’t feel him. Jonny (Gomes) made an outstanding play. I don’t see how you can take it away, but it’s over. We won.’’
Jerry Hairston Jr. put the Reds ahead 1-0 in the first, connecting off Cliff Lee for his fifth homer of the season.
Cleveland tied it with two outs in the fourth. Johnny Cueto hit Kelly Shoppach with a two-strike pitch, and Luis Valbuena hit an RBI double.
The Reds made it 2-1 in the bottom half after Hernandez singled and Rosales doubled. Gonzalez hit a sharp one-hopper that Valbuena knocked down with a diving, backhanded stop, but the ball trickled away from the second base and Hernandez scored on the infield hit.
Gonzalez hit an RBI single with two outs in the sixth for a 3-1 lead.
Cueto struck out seven in seven innings and gave up two earned runs. Lee allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Notes: Votto walked on four pitches as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. … Cleveland’s Victor Martinez, who was leading the American League in hitting with a .379 average going into the game, went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. … The Indians lead the interleague series with the Reds 31-29.