Cincinnati Reds capture first title in 15 years!
CINCINNATI, Ohio (USA) -
The Cincinnati Reds are champion for the first time since 1995 and so they will play in their first postseason in 15 years!
On Tuesday-evening, the Reds won 3-2 vs. the Houston Astros on a walk-off homerun by Jay Bruce to capture the title in the National League Central Division.
In 1995, the Reds were the first champion of the then-introduced Central Division, when the American and National Leagues were split into three divisions, instead of two (East and West), which was the previous situation.
Before 1995, the Reds played in 12 Play-Offs, including six in the 1970s when the team was known as 'Big Red Machine', when it included players like Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose, George Foster, Ken Griffey and Cesar Geronimo.
The Reds took an 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Drew Stubbs and Orlando Cabrera led off with a walk, but then a double play followed.
Next, Stubbs scored on a single by Scott Rolen.
In the second inning, the Astros scored twice.
Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace started with singles.
After the two advanced on a sacrifice bunt, Jason Castro singled in the tying run, then Wallace scored the go-ahead run on a squeeze bunt by Wandy Rodriguez.
Cincinnati tied the score in the sixth inning but scored only once despite getting the bases loaded with no outs.
Orlando Cabrera and Joey Votto singled, then Scott Rolen walked.
After a pop-out on foul territory, Brandon Phillips singled to make it 2-2, but then the inning ended when Jay Bruce (who earlier struckout twice) grounded into a double play.
In the ninth inning, Tim Byrdak took over the pitching for Houston and faced Jay Bruce, who then hit the first pitch he saw over the centerfield wall for a walk-off homerun!
In the top of the ninth inning, Cuban Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz took over the pitching for Cincinnati and became the winning pitcher.
Last Saturday, one of Chapman's fastballs against the San Diego Padres was clocked at 105 mph, which is the fastest pitch ever recorded since velocities were measured for the first time in the early 80s.
The lefthander was added to the roster on August 31 and he made his big league-debut the same day, throwing one inning vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.
As Chapman was on the roster on August 31, he became eligible to participate in the postseason.
Last year, Chapman participated with the National Team of Cuba in the World Baseball Classic and a few months later, he was a member of the Cuban Team that participated in the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam (Netherlands).
On July 1, one day before the start of the event, Chapman walked out of the team hotel, was picked up by a car and left.
He then resided in Andorra and later ended up signing a contract with the Cincinnati Reds on January 10 for six years and 30 million dollar.
Chapman made his professional debut in the Triple-A team of the Reds in Louisville, then was recalled to the big league on August 31.