When Drew Stubbs got the fastball he expected, he went the opposite way for a leadoff homer in the ninth inning Sunday night, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 success over the Atlanta Braves and their first set of back-to-back triumphs in over five weeks.
Stubbs expected Scott Linebrink with 3-2 to try to get ahead in the count with his first pitch.
Stubbs said, after the next game-ending homer of his career, “I went up there looking for a fastball out over the plate. He gave it to me, I put a good swing on it, and the rest is history.”
A small recent history comes. The defending National League Central champions had not won successive games from June 14-15, when they finished a three-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Manager Dusty Baker said, “It’s been even longer since we’ve won three in a row, so we might as well win three in a row.”
The incapability of Reds to put together even the most humble winning streak has trapped them in fourth place.
Stubbs said, “We know we haven’t been playing our best baseball, but we definitely have the pieces of the puzzle to make a run. It’s going to be a dogfight.”
Stubbs’ homer off Linebrink with 3-2 finished the Reds’ all-power night. Brandon Philips strike a two-run homer and Miguel Cairo included a solo shot off rookie Brandon Beachy, providing Cincinnati a 3-0 lead.
Francisco Cordero fanned pinch-striker Brooks Conrad with a runner on third to finish the ninth of Braves.
Reds starter Dontrelle Willis could not hold a 3-2 lead in the seventh, when Julio Lugo tied it with a pinch-hit single. The left-hander was attempting to obtain his first huge league win since June 5 in the previous season.