Monday’s matchup between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates was a wild, evenly played contest with a host of dramatic moments befitting a playoff-worthy game, so let’s give it a playoff-worthy breakdown.
McCutchen is clutch
Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two walks and hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning against Reds reliever Manny Parra. It marked the first time that McCutchen hit a game-tying home run that late in a game.
Walker is too
Neil Walker had his second straight three-hit game. His walk-off hit was the second of his career, both of which have come this season. The other was a home run on Opening Day.
Walker’s hit was just out of the reach of Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. Phillips has ranked in the top 10 among second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved in five of the last six seasons.
Inside the at-bat: Davis’ grand slam
Eduardo Perez pointed out on Baseball Tonight that one of Ike Davis’ flaws has been timing, and he noted that on Davis’ grand slam his timing seemed to be better. Davis started his swing earlier, allowing him to turn on an inside fastball from Mike Leake and hit it over the fence.
Davis has two hits on inside pitches (those on the inner-third of the plate or off the inside corner) in three games with the Pirates. In 2012 and 2013, he hit .161 in at-bats that ended with pitches to that area.
DavisThe Elias Sports Bureau noted that Davis became the third player in major-league history to hit two grand slams against a team in a season with the home runs coming for two different teams (in this case the New York Mets and Pirates).
How they got him out: Joey Votto
Reds first baseman Joey Votto was 0-for-5 in the loss. Votto saw 21 pitches in the game, 16 of which were on the outer third of the plate or off the outside corner.
All five of Votto’s outs came against those pitches. Votto has missed outside pitches at a rate that is nearly twice as often as he has missed other pitches thrown to him this season (26 percent versus 14 percent).
Votto’s .348 batting average against the Pirates entering the day was the highest among active players.