Catchers love any play at the plate. It’s their chance to be in the center of the action instead of watching the game unfold in front of them.
Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has more fun on those plays than any other, and he had a great time Saturday as the Reds beat the Phillies 6-5 at Great American Ball Park.
Center fielder Billy Hamilton, second baseman Brandon Phillips and Mesoraco combined on plays to cut down runners at the plate to end the sixth and seventh innings. Mesoraco survived a collision with Marlon Byrd on the first play, which excited catching coach Mike Stefanski so much he called Mesoraco in the dugout.
“That’s always his favorite play,” Mesoraco said. “That gets him fired up.”
Hamilton started each play with a strong relay throw. Phillips followed with an equally strong throw to the plate.
The Phillies (25-35) trailed 6-3 when Byrd was thrown out in the sixth. They trailed by a run when Mesoraco tagged out Carlos Ruiz to end the seventh.
“Defensively, we show up almost every night,” Mesoraco said. “That’s something we’ve always preached around here. You’ve got to play defense to play for us. They’re obviously exciting plays just because there’s a lot going on, a lot of moving parts, a lot of action.”
The Reds (28-32) stopped a three-game losing streak and avoided falling a season-high six games under .500 for the second time this season.
Just one night earlier, manager Bryan Price pronounced himself stupefied that his team has had so much trouble fighting back in games. The Reds have not overcome any deficit of more than two runs this season. They are 1-27 when they trail at the start of the seventh inning
They trailed 2-1 in the second inning Saturday but tied the game in the bottom of the second and took a 6-2 lead into the sixth.
“We’re not the type of team that has to think it’s over if we’re down by two or three runs,” Price said. “We’re too good. That’s not being an optimist. We have a team of guys who have credentials. When we run a lineup out there, it’s loaded with credentials, guys who have been in this environment, who have been winners, who have produced runs, who have done a lot of good things to help winning teams win games.
“There’s no reason for our team to ever think we’re out of a ballgame.”
Phillies at Reds, 1:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410