Backup catcher turns double play on bunt popup; Votto, Frazier also shine with glove
By Jim Hoehn
Special to MLB.com |
MILWAUKEE -- Manager Bryan Price applied a philosophy more commonly associated with basketball to the Reds' 6-1 victory over the Brewers on Monday night.
"If defense shows up every day, you're in a lot of games," Price said. "I think that we have guys that, as far as I can tell since I've been around these guys, always put defense as a priority. It seems that the offense is kind of the icing on the cake part. I mean, they work extremely hard on their offense, but the defense is something they know can show up every day, even when you're struggling offensively, and we do a great job of separating the two."
While starter Anthony DeSclafani was limiting the Brewers to two hits over eight scoreless innings, the Reds turned in three outstanding defensive plays to help keep Milwaukee off the board until Cincinnati's offense got on track.
Joey Votto accounted for the final out of the second inning when he snared Gerardo Parra's shot down the first-base line from behind the bag and flipped to DeSclafani.
With none out in the fourth inning, third baseman Todd Frazier grabbed a hot comebacker that ricocheted off DeSclafani's calf and fired in time to get Jonathan Lucroy at first.
But the biggest defensive play was turned by catcher Brayan Pena, playing in place of All-Star Devin Mesoraco, who was not with the team due to family reasons after missing six previous games with a left hip impingement.
With runners on first and second and one out in the fifth inning of a scoreless game, Brewers starter Wily Peralta fouled off a two-strike bunt attempt. Pena made a diving catch on the first-base side and then doubled off Hector Gomez at first to end the threat.
The Reds then broke through for four runs in the sixth.
"It was one of those balls that I was trying to react," Pena said. "I saw him running and I just gave it a chance. If you drop it, it's a foul ball and it was a strikeout, so why not?"
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said it was up to Peralta to attempt a bunt with two strikes.
"I give him the option, but I took [the bunt sign] off there," Roenicke said. "I told him, 'When you get to two strikes, if you feel like you can get the bunt down, I'd rather you bunt.'"
As a team, the Reds take pride in their defense, Price said.
"The other part I like is our guys, when a guy makes a nice play, guys don't forget about it," Price said. "When that defender comes in off the field, almost to a man, we go up there, coaches, players, and acknowledge the nice defensive play. We really try to make sure they don't go unnoticed."
Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.