A 3-2 win over Houston on Tuesday night allowed the Cincinnati Reds to punch their ticket for October and gave the Reds their first NL Central crown since 1995.
It couldn’t have happened in more dramatic fashion, either.
With the magic number down to one, a Monday night loss by the Cardinals would have allowed the Reds to clinch. But the Cardinals won.
Tuesday night was the same story. St. Louis again defeated the Pirates, and it would take a Cincinnati win for the Reds to clinch.
The Reds trailed heading into the sixth inning, but tied the score at two and it stayed that way until the ninth.
Cuban flame-thrower Aroldis Chapman came on and pitched a perfect one-two-three inning in the top of the ninth.
The bottom of the ninth wouldn’t last quite so long.
Jay Bruce stepped to the plate and drove the first pitch he saw deep into the Cincinnati night sky and over the center-feild wall.
As the ball left the park, so too did all the misery and losing the past 15 years had bestowed on Cincinnati.
It was the Reds’ 45th come-back victory of the year, but none were sweeter than this one.