CINCINNATI - Drew Stubbs felt the icy Gatorade trickle down his back and tasted the shaving cream as it was pied into his face. Ah, the sweet taste of victory. Stubbs was given this rookie treatment after he came through like a veteran Thursday against the Giants. Leading off the 10th inning, Stubbs blasted a walk-off solo homer to left field that drilled the foul pole and gave the Reds a 2-1 win.
On a hot day, Stubbs said the Gatorade bath felt good, though he could have done without the shaving cream in his mouth. Not that he was complaining, however. "That's what you see growing up as a kid and hopefully one day be there," Stubbs said of his treatment. "[Today] was that day for me." Stubbs certainly earned the attention. On a 2-0 pitch, he hit a fastball down the line. He watched as it began to curve and just nearly missed being a foul ball. But the ball remained fair enough to give Stubbs his first career home run and snap the Reds' five-game losing streak. "When it went out I thought, 'Please stay fair,'" Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We needed that one real bad. You don't know how bad we needed that one." Because the ball drilled off the foul pole and fell in the outfield, Stubbs got to keep the ball and a memory that he won't forget for some time. "It's something that I've experienced a few times the past few years at the lower levels," Stubbs said. "But obviously if you hit a walk-off in the big leagues, it's something everyone dreams about." He was making just his second career start after being recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Louisville. And entering that at-bat, he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Yet Stubbs wasn't thinking about those previous struggles. "You have to put the failures behind you," Stubbs said. "You fail 70 percent of the time. I think I was able to clear my head up there and put together a good at-bat." When the Reds brought him up from the Minors, they were looking for a leadoff hitter who would give them speed on the base paths. He wasn't expected to provide a power bat in the lineup. For the Bats, he only had three homers this season. But he showed a potential for power with his 389 foot blast Thursday. "Confidence is something that feeds off itself," Stubbs said. "Being able to get a few hits here and there helps out a lot." Much of Thursday's game mirrored Wednesday's 1-0 loss, with the Reds struggling to score runs again. Trailing 1-0, in the sixth, Laynce Nix snapped a 19-inning scoreless streak with a solo homer to center field. But then the bats went quiet again for another three innings. But the Reds pitching kept them in the game. Right-hander Aaron Harang gave the Reds seven quality innings, and a combination of relievers, including closer Francisco Cordero, kept the Giants scoreless. Unlike many games this season, it finally went in the Reds' favor, as they celebrated their first walk-off home run of the season, from the most unlikely of players.
And they weren't going to just let Stubbs know their appreciation with a few handshakes and high fives.Welcome to the Major Leagues, rookie.
Steve Gartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.