CINCINNATI (AP) ― Joey Votto’s first hit of the season wasn’t all that pretty, but the timing and placement were perfect. Votto’s hard grounder deflected off the glove of first baseman Albert Pujols and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Brandon Phillips hit a three-run homer in his new role as Cincinnati’s cleanup hitter, and Votto provided the clincher with his first hit after an 0-for-6 start to the season. Left-hander Scott Downs (0-1) came on to start the ninth and hit Choo Shin-soo with his first pitch. After a sacrifice, Votto hit his grounder to Pujols’ right. The ball deflected off his glove and rolled into the outfield, allowing Choo to score easily.