Cozart’s Masterpiece a Requiem for Tribe; Reds 8, Indians 3
Steve Eby | On 06, Aug 2014
Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart has never been an All-Star nor is he often considered among the Reds best players, but he played like a Hall of Famer on Wednesday night in Great American Ballpark as the Reds defeated the Indians 8-3.
The Reds scored seven of their eight runs with two outs as Tribe starter Danny Salazar (4-5) and other members of the Tribe bullpen were beaten up by the bottom of the home team’s lineup—specifically the normally light-hitting shortstop Cozart. In addition to his three run homerun, RBI single, two runs scored and four RBI, Cozart also robbed the Indians of multiple hits that could have turned the tide as the Tribe took nearly all game to figure out how to hit starter Mat Latos (4-3).
Cleveland put themselves behind the eight ball early on when they gift wrapped three Reds runs in the bottom of the second. Brayan Pena started the big inning with a one out single up the middle and then was followed by a Chris Heisey pop out. With two down, Kris Negron tapped a slow roller up the middle that was fielded cleanly by Tribe shortstop Jose Ramirez, but the youngster couldn’t get the ball out of his glove cleanly. Negron reached first on what should have been the third out of the frame. Of course, the next batter, Cozart, lifted his three run homerun off of the left field foul pole when Salazar hung a slider, even though the pitcher was on deck. The homerun gave the Reds a 3-0 early lead.
Another homer buried the Tribe even further in the fourth inning, when Negron took Salazar deep after another Pena single up the middle. Negron’s third blast of the season pushed the Reds advantage to 5-0.
In the seventh, Cozart’s demolition of the Tribe pitching staff continued as he was able to single home Negron, who had doubled to start the inning. Todd Frazier pushed the game out of reach when he drove home two more later in the inning with a double down the right field line.
After eight Cincinnati runs had crossed the plate, the Tribe finally got on the board when Yan Gomes took Latos deep down the left field line cut the lead to 8-1. The blast snuck just inside the left field foul pole for Gomes’ career-best 16th blast of the season. The Tribe continued their offensive attack in the inning, as a Mike Aviles walk was followed by a Jason Kipnis single to put runners at first and second for pinch hitter Ryan Raburn. Raburn roped a double into the gap, plating both runners, for just his third pinch hit of the year. It was Raburn’s double that put the deficit at 8-3 and finally ran Latos from the ballgame after 7.2 solid innings of work.
The Tribe and Reds will finish their unconventional home and home four game series on Thursday as Cleveland looks for the split. Rookie lefthander T.J. House (1-2, 4.09) will get the ball for the Indians and will oppose veteran righty Homer Bailey (8-5, 3.89). The game is scheduled to start at 7:10 from the north bank of the Ohio River.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images