Reds manager Dusty Baker gave Jay Bruce the day off Saturday. Bruce still had to go to work, of course. A day off in baseball doesn’t mean you get to stay home and catch up on “Breaking Bad” — not if your team is playing.
“In years past, Dusty would give me a day off to kind of take a mental break,” Bruce said. “I think this is strictly a physical break for me. I’ll use it, and I’ll be ready to play. You never know.”
You certainly don’t. Baseball is a strange game. Every imaginable situation presents itself in a 162-game season. About the only thing you can count on in the Reds dugout is pitcher Mat Latos flipping sunflower seeds at innocent bystanders.
On Saturday in a 6-3 victory over the Brewers at Great American Ball Park, the Reds proved just how quickly a game can change, and fortunately, it changed in a way that they didn’t need Bruce.
Cincinnati couldn’t buy an RBI in the first four innings despite six hits. In the next three innings, the Reds wore out a path around the bases. Chris Heisey, Ryan Ludwick, Zack Cozart and Joey Votto all homered as the Reds rallied from an early 2-0 deficit.
Heisey’s shot in the fifth broke the ice. Ludwick’s homer in the sixth tied the game. Cozart’s two-run blast gave the Reds a 4-2 lead in the sixth, two innings after Cozart failed with runners in scoring position.
“I had a guy on third with one out, and I didn’t get him in,” Cozart said. “That’s why I was even more pumped when all of a sudden you’ve got Heisey and Luddy hitting home runs. Then I hit that one to go ahead. (That was good) because Bronson (Arroyo), like he has all year, was pitching his butt off.”
Arroyo (13-9, 3.42 ERA) allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings. He extended his streak of innings without a walk to 29 2/3.
“It was just a good win for us as a whole,” Arroyo said. “The bullpen got some rest. Also when you’re playing good baseball and you take three out of four from Arizona, you don’t want to lose two in a row, especially because last night we felt we had a good chance to win, and we didn’t. It’s nice to keep the ball rolling.”
The Reds (74-56) are 14-7 in August after winning 12 games in June and 14 in July. The Cardinals (76-53) beat the Braves 6-2 to maintain a 2½-game lead over the Reds in the wild-card standings.
Baker revealed after Saturday’s game that Greg Reynolds will start today’s 1:10 p.m. game against the Brewers in place of Tony Cingrani, who will be placed on the disabled list.
“It just appears Cingrani’s not ready,” Baker said. “We’re short on pitching. We’ve just got to get him well. If we get him well, he’ll be able to throw a couple pens in between and hopefully be able to throw the last game against St. Louis on Sept. 5.”