As Ryan Hanigan stepped up to the plate with a runner on and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, there was quite a bit on the line.
With a win, the Cincinnati Reds would sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers who have been one of the hottest teams in baseball the past few months. A win would give them six wins in their last seven games over teams who lead their division. A win would tie them for second place in the NL Central just a game and a half behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
But he stood at the plate with as much confidence as possible and shot a line drive into the corner in left which scored Zack Cozart from first and gave the Reds a 3-2 walk-off win at Great American Ballpark.
"It was one of those games," Hanigan said. "It kind of went the way we expected. A lot of quality pitching on both sides, low-scoring game. We had a couple opportunities and couldn't come through, but it was an awesome way to win. We're playing good ball right now."
"He's a pitcher that, if he gives you a pitch to hit and you don't take advantage of it, you're probably out," said Bruce. "He gave me a couple of pitches I can handle tonight, and I was able to execute."
Reds starter Homer Bailey was also a major factor in the game. He went seven innings allowing just two earned runs on six hits while striking out nine, including six in a row at one point. Zach Duke and J.J. Hoover took over and pitched a perfect eighth inning setting up Aroldis Chapman for the ninth.
After the Reds were set down in the eighth, Chapman set down the Dodgers in the ninth including striking out two. Eight of his 10 pitches hit triple digits.
Ronald Belisario came in for the Dodgers in the ninth and after retiring Todd Frazier, Cozart singled and the rest was history.
"We're winning the close games right now," Hanigan said. "I'd like to see a few more big hits and a little more offense, but hey, we're winning games, we're rolling, the team's feeling it and the guys are having a good time. That's what it's all about."
Cincinnati will start a three game series against the Chicago Cubs before getting a day off.
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