Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Pittsburgh 7
WP: Maholm (7-9)
LP: Leake (7-3)
S: Hanrahan (1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Brandon Phillips went 3-5, scored a run, and knocked in two huge runs in the eighth inning with one of his two doubles. BP is hot again, friends and neighbors.

–Chris Heisey continued his quest to steal the CF job from Drew Stubbs by going 2-4 with a walk, a run scored, and two RBI.

–The Reds got down 6-0 early and they kept battling. I guess I’ll count that as a positive.

NEGATIVES
–Mike Leake was not good: five innings, seven hits, seven runs, six earned.

–Dusty Baker completely screwed up the strategy in the eighth inning. After Brandon Phillips doubled in two runs to bring the Reds within 7-6, Dusty sent Joey Votto up to pinch-hit for Paul Janish. As Chris put it: 11,482 people in PNC Park knew that the Pirates would intentionally walk Votto with first base open. One guy didn’t see it coming (Dusty), and he wasted his best pinch-hitter. Not only that, the Reds only have one SS on the roster, so Miguel Cairo was forced to play short in the bottom of the inning.

I agree with Chris that the better move would have been to let Janish hit. After he singled, send up Votto to bat for Cairo. If, by some strange transaction, Janish made an out, you let Votto lead off the ninth as a pinch-hitter. Doesn’t that make more sense?

–Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce are just struggling. It’s flat-out ugly. I don’t have any answers.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Only Pittsburgh delays the start of the game when there is no rain whatsoever for the hour before or the hour after the delay is called.

–I really would have liked to get this win tonight, especially with the Cards getting completely hammered by Houston (18-4). At least the good guys are still in first place, though it would have been nice to extend that lead.

–Mike Leake hit Pirate CF Andrew McCutchen in the back of the next with a pitch. It was a scary moment. Evidently, other than a bruise, McCutchen is okay.

–Of course, right after that, the stupid Pirates immediately hit Mike Leake with a pitch, as if he were trying to hit their guy on the head. I hope Pittsburgh never gets out of last place.

–Votto is expected to start tomorrow, an afternoon affair at PNC Park. Reds need to win to take the series.