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Reds strikeout spree has cost restaurant chain $100,000 in free pizzas

LaRosa's Pizzerias, a Cincinnati chain, is losing a lot of dough on dough. As a promotion for the 2013 season, Great American Ball Park ticket-holders win a free pizza whenever Reds pitchers combine for 11 or more strikeouts in a single game ... a feat they've accomplished seven times in three weeks, racking up a $100,000 bill for LaRosa's.

Mat Latos alone has punched out 29 batters on the season, with Homer Bailey a close second at 26. Even with Johnny Cueto lost to the DL, the pitching staff whiffed double-digit batters in six straight games from April 18-23. In fact, Cincinnati leads all NL clubs with 8.8 K/9 this season.

It's to LaRosa's credit that their management hasn't batted an eye, graciously churning out complimentary small pizzas by the ovenful despite only projecting 11-13 free pizza games all year.

Fortunately, other purchases help recoup the cost of the free pies. "The real reason to do this is to underscore awareness of our brand and get people to visit," said Pete Buscani, the company's EVP for marketing. "This is the best promotion we've done in a long time."   

That said, if Latos and company keep this up, we wouldn't blame them if they downsize the deal to a slice ... or to Bagel Bites ... or even to pizza-in-a-cone (unfortunately, we can personally confirm that this is a real thing).

-- Molly Fitzpatrick / MLB.com