Petco Park, San Diego, CA
An epic 16-inning war of the nerves, while the Reds were at their 2009 peak and the Padres were nothing much beyond a threat in the NL. Baker's boys were (literally) beaten out of the park by the fightin' friars in a rousing and entertaining extra-inning Redleg massacre.
CIN 5 8 0
SD 6 10 1
This was certainly a classic match-up as far as early-inning ups and downs, followed by tense offense, decisive and precise pitching, and nerve-shattering close calls. You almost know as the pressure builds that the perfect way to end the game is with a walk-off...with each batter that steps into the box, you can almost feel the skin on the side of your head splitting with anticipation!
The Padres set if off in the very first inning, with a lead-off HR from Mr Tough Guy Brian Giles and a double by Eckstein. Reds pitcher Volquez was visibly shaken - nearly getting the hook early on (and understandably so). Volquez regained his composure, and held the Padres at 2 runs through his exit from the game due to back spasms in the 6th.
The Reds answered (quietly at first) during the middle innings, capping off with back-to-back 2 run innings in the 5th and 6th. Joey Votto, on his way to the batting championship, left the game in the bottom of the 4th due to dizziness (he would miss several games and eventually spend some time on the DL) leaving Jay Bruce and the mighty Laynce Nix as the Reds' only offensive hope...lefty or otherwise. Nix opened fire first with a scorching 2-run HR in the 5th; Bruce returned with a fierce 2-run HR in the 6th that gave the Reds a 5-2 lead.
Edgar Gonzalez' pinch-hit HR the following inning still didn't give the Padres the edge, and the Reds' 2-run lead stood strong. Arthur Rhodes enters the game efficiently for one batter only, gets the hook after offering a lead-off walk to Adrian Gonzalez (he and Edgar are brothers) after a 10-pitch AB. Enter David Weathers, who opens his outing with an 0-1 pitch double to Scott Hairston. What follows was a definitive difference of opinion between Weathers and "Ya-HEE" Umpire Jim Joyce over the strike zone - it would end with 3BB, 2 runs (1 earned, 1 charged to Rhodes), harsh words between Weathers and Joyce, and the game tied at 5-5 with one out left in the top of the 8th.
Once Volquez got his crap together, he did very well...as did The Padres' starter Josh Geer. The Reds' bullpen (hailed by the local press and commentators as 'one of the best in the league, with nobody getting better') really forced this game to the tie break at 9 innings, and it was the relief appearances of Gregerson/Perdomo for the Padres, and Micah Owings for the Reds that held the game in suspended animation for 6 intense innings of 'stump the chump' baseball.
David Eckstein blew an earlier end to this game. With 2 outs in the 10th, bases loaded, facing the uneven Reds reliever Jared Burton, the 1-0 pitch careened towards Eckstein's upper torso, and the feisty friar jumped out of the way! If he would have been hit, he would have forced in a walk-off run that would have ended the game. Take one for the team!!!
The inevitable end dragged on and on, the 16-inning run broken by Nick Hundley's surprise 2-out solo HR. Surprise...ha ha, yeah, well, you new it was coming but when it did, it was a little bit hard to believe!!
The game was called on Fox Sports Ohio by Chris Welsh and Thom Brennaman...the two biggest Reds fans in the midwest. The Weathers Walks called by Joyce started a diatribe on 'what's wrong in the MLB when the umpires run the show' that got nearly unprofessional until Weathers' replacement Daniel Rey Herrera threw 4 pitches to get Giles called out on strikes...then, suddenly, the controversy was over. Weathers was just not on top of his work that night, don't blame it on the ump of he'll "Yaa-HEE" your backside straight through to the Eastern Seaboard.
I scored this game on 4/24/10, just after the Padres' 10-4 win at Cincinnati!!