Hernandez belts two-out, walk-off HR as Reds win

Posted: 01/04/2011 in MLB

Hernandez’s three-run HR in ninth lifts Reds to win in opener


Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run game-winning homer, as the Cincinnati Reds scored four times in the bottom of the ninth to come back and shock the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-6, in the 2011 season opener for both clubs at Great American Ball Park.

Holding a 6-3 lead, John Axford (0-1) came on for the Brewers to try and close out the game in the ninth, but was unable to do so.

The closer allowed a leadoff single to Brandon Phillips, then issued a walk to Joey Votto, before Scott Rolen reached on a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases.

Jay Bruce went down on strikes and Jonny Gomes lined a first-pitch fastball to center that was good for a sacrifice fly, making it a 6-4 game.

Hernandez then stepped in and lined a second-pitch four-seam fastball over the wall in right to give the Reds a dramatic 7-6 victory.

“For this to happen to me on Opening Day is amazing,” Hernandez said about his three-run homer.

Hernandez finished 4-for-5 and Drew Stubbs added a solo homer and double for the Reds, who hope to take another step forward after capturing the National League Central title last season.

Cincinnati earned its first division title since 1995, but was quickly eliminated in the playoffs, falling to Philadelphia in three games in the NL Division Series, highlighted by Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in Game 1.

Votto, the reigning NL MVP was rewarded with a three-year, $38 million contract extension in the offseason, had a solo homer and drove in two in the win.

The 27-year-old flirted with a triple crown in 2010. He ended the year with 37 home runs (third in the league), 113 runs batted in (third) and a .324 batting average (second).

Edinson Volquez got the starting nod and was touched for five runs on seven hits with two walks. The right-hander fanned five, but allowed three home runs over six innings. Logan Ondrusek (1-0) was credited with the win for throwing a scoreless top of the ninth.

Rickie Weeks hit a solo homer and knocked in two, while Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun also added a solo shot for Milwaukee, which will try to challenge for the Central Division crown under new skipper Ron Roenicke, who was hired in November as a replacement for the fired Ken Macha.

Yovani Gallardo worked six full innings, yielding a pair of runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Milwaukee opened the season with a bang as Weeks and Gomez clubbed back-to- back homers, as part of a three-run top of the first. Weeks led off the game, jumping on a 2-2 fastball and hammering it into the left-field seats and Gomez followed by hitting a slider into the second deck in left. It was the first time since 1969 that a team began the season with back-to-back home runs.

“It was a great start, obviously,” Weeks said. “To get two runs on the board like that is good for any ball club, so it was a great start.”

Casey McGehee chased in another run with a sac fly later in the inning.

The Reds did get one back in the home half. Stubbs doubled leading off and later crossed the plate on Votto’s deep sac fly to center.

Weeks’ RBI double in the second made it a 4-1 game and Gallardo was able to work out of a bases loaded two-out jam in the third.

Stubbs’ solo shot to right in the fourth got the Reds to within two, but Braun answered with a solo homer to center in the fifth to put the Brewers up 5-2.

McGehee singled home Braun in the seventh to add to the visitors’ advantage, however, Votto’s homer to right got the run back in the home half.

Takashi Saito worked out of some trouble in the eighth to bridge the gap for Axford, who was unable to get the job done in the ninth.

– Steve


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