Reds win 12-11 thriller; triple-crown threat Votto strikes again

Just when it looked like they were going to blow a huge lead – one of their few Achilles’ heels this season – the Cincinnati Reds pulled out a 12-11 victory over the host San Francisco Giants in 12 innings on Wednesday.

The Reds led 10-1 at one point, but the Giants stormed back to tie it, and then take the lead heading into the ninth inning.

However, thanks to an error from third baseman Pablo Sandoval, the Reds were able to knot the score at 11 and eventually send the game into extra innings.

Triple crown threat Joey Votto then put the Reds in the lead with an RBI single in the 12th frame. Votto finished 4-of-7 with two home runs and four RBIs – other than that he wasn’t really a factor in the game.

This guy is unbelievable. To think he is playing on the same level as Albert Pujols is shocking and it’s no fluke. He’s as pure of a hitter as there is in the Majors and is now batting .326 with 31 homers and 90 RBIs.

Pujols is batting .319 with 33 HRs and 92 RBIs. Votto leads the league in batting average and is second in home runs and RBIs. Pujols leads the league in homers and ribbies, and is second in batting average.

So, in addition to the intriguing race between the Reds and Cardinals for National League Central supremacy, there is a legitimate two-man competition for what would be the first triple crown winner in baseball since 1967 (Carl Yastrzemski). That’s 43 years if you weren’t counting. Of all the offensive records that got smashed during the steroid era (which we still might be in the midst of even due to the drop in home runs this season; don’t think for a minute there aren’t masking agents out there that can beat the tests), no one was able to match Yaz’s triple crown, or bat .400 like Ted Williams did (.406 in  1941).

Anyway, the Reds are now 73-54 and were able to go 6-3 on their West Coast swing. Late season trips to the left coast have been the downfall of many Reds teams over the years. However, Cincinnati was able to sweep the Diamondbacks, take two of three from the Dodgers, and salvage a 1-2 showing against the Giants.

More good news is that Pittsburgh is leading visiting St. Louis 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth. The Reds would be 3.5 games up on the Cardinals if they lose tonight. (UPDATE: The Cards did in fact lose to the Buccos, 5-2. This means they dropped a three-game series to the worst team in MLB. Gotta love getting some help from the Pirates of all teams.)

This has certainly been a thrilling ride for Reds fans starving for a winner this year and the win over the Giants on Aug. 25 is one of the games we’ll always remember if the Reds end up making the postseason for the first time in 15 years. (Although, 1999 pretty much felt like a playoff year and included the one-game “playoff” against the Mets for the wildcard. If you win 96 games as the ’99 Reds did, you’re a hell of a team. That’s more regular-season wins than the Reds had in 1990 [91-71] when they won it all.)