Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL — 10 innings
Pittsburgh 4
Cincinnati 5

WP: Cordero (6-4)
LP: Thomas (0-1)

(AP Photo/Al Behrman, viewable at SI.com


–Just…wow. Joey Votto led off the bottom of the tenth inning with a majestic blast to the left-center field bleachers, giving the Reds a come-from-behind victory. If Votto isn’t MVP, the award is meaningless.

–I don’t know if Edinson Volquez really made a change in his mechanics while in Dayton, but he was absolutely brilliant tonight. Volquez allowed no runs and only one hit in seven innings. He struck out ten, while walking only one. Just a great, great start…and for the second straight night, a brilliant outing by the Cincinnati starter was wasted.

–Scott Rolen had two doubles, and scored Cincinnati’s first two runs. Drew Stubbs had two hits, including a double, plus a run and an RBI.

–Aroldis Chapman surrendered a bleeder up the middle to allow a couple of Nick Masset’s inherited runners to score, but he looked very, very good overall once again tonight. One night after giving up a lead, Francisco Cordero was back on the mound and threw a dominant inning.

–Chris Heisey surprised everyone by pinch-hitting in the bottom of the ninth, after Masset had given up the lead. He doubled down the left field line, scoring Stubbs from first base.

–Wow, it’s been a bad week for Nick Masset (after a few weeks of brilliance). After his terrible mental lapse against Colorado, tonight Masset entered the game after Volquez left with a 3-0 lead. That lead was short-lived, as Masset gave up all four Pittsburgh runs in his two-thirds of an inning, giving up three hits and a walk. Ugly.

With tonight’s win, the Cincinnati Reds’ 9-year streak of losing seasons is officially over! That’s a big deal to me.

–As you probably already know, the Cardinals lost again. Cincinnati now holds a seven game lead in the National League Central division. Their magic number to clinch a spot in the playoffs is 15. Wow.

–Let’s be honest: this team is a mess right now, in so many ways. What is magical about this team, however, is that it doesn’t seem to matter. No matter what this team does, they just keep creeping closer to the promised land. It’s nutty.

–Watching Votto after he hit that homer was fun. He knew it was gone as soon as it was hit. If you’re like me, you were on your feet and screaming in your living room.

–If I were running this team, I would have Aroldis Chapman in the game every time there is a high-leverage situation.

–I know it was just the Pirates, but I am very encouraged by the performances of Homer Bailey and Edinson Volquez the last two nights. Volquez was just great tonight, and it reminded me why I enjoyed watching him so much a couple of years ago. His stuff was electric — he reached 97 on the gun — but that new curveball of his was fantastic.

–That was fun. Now, I’m going to watch my Virginia Cavaliers playing USC. Wish me luck.

Joey Votto