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Rain only delays inevitable: Another Duvall HR

Young left fielder turning heads with team-leading 16 dingers
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Reds left fielder Adam Duvall had a lot of time to contemplate his eighth-inning at-bat against Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley on Saturday -- 64 minutes of time to be exact. A rain delay put Duvall on ice before he could bat with runners on the corners in a tie game, but he didn't dwell on the situation before him and just took a few swings in the indoor cage to stay ready.

"I didn't want to try and overthink the at-bat," Duvall said. "I wanted to go up there and react. I was able to do that."

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CINCINNATI -- Reds left fielder Adam Duvall had a lot of time to contemplate his eighth-inning at-bat against Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley on Saturday -- 64 minutes of time to be exact. A rain delay put Duvall on ice before he could bat with runners on the corners in a tie game, but he didn't dwell on the situation before him and just took a few swings in the indoor cage to stay ready.

"I didn't want to try and overthink the at-bat," Duvall said. "I wanted to go up there and react. I was able to do that."

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That he did. Duvall got a 1-2 hanging slider from Kelly and knew what to do. He slugged it for a three-run homer into the upper deck in left field for a 6-3 Reds win.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Duvall and other #ASGWorthy players

"It was a big moment when we needed a really big at-bat," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Nobody wanted to go to extra innings, especially when we had a lead going into the eighth. Nobody wanted the momentum to shift over to Washington. It was a huge moment, and he came through."

Duvall, who began the season as a platoon player, has a team-leading 16 home runs. He's hit nine in his last 13 games and one in each of the last three games. But like with the big at-bat, he hasn't dwelled on that, either.

"I didn't know it was that many," Duvall said. "I don't really pay attention to how many I've hit in recent days. I'm feeling good. I'm swinging the bat well. The biggest thing is when I'm getting a pitch to hit, I'm not missing it."

While he's batting .267, Duvall has a .920 OPS, which is somewhat amazing considering he doesn't walk much and has a .301 on-base percentage. However, he did draw a walk on Saturday. Perhaps the word is not quite out yet about him as pitchers still challenge him. He's hitting their mistakes and their non-mistakes.

How would Reds starting pitcher Dan Straily face him, if he had to?

"Four straight in the dirt, especially right now," Straily said. "Take my chances with the next guy. The guy's just on fire. It's been really fun to watch. I faced Adam back in Triple-A and saw him, what he was capable of at different levels. So he's not a new name to me."

Traded from the Giants to the Reds last July 30 for pitcher Mike Leake, Duvall hit 30 homers in Triple-A last season and five more in the big leagues for the Reds. He also had 30-homer seasons in 2014 (three in the Majors) and 2012.

As Duvall has taken off recently, the murmurs about All-Star consideration have started as well. Not only does he rank second in the National League behind Colorado's Nolan Arenado in home runs, he's been playing good defense and has been one of the league's best players nobody has heard about -- yet.

"All of a sudden, he's a guy that's doing things on a pretty regular basis to get more than just regional attention," Price said.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds, Adam Duvall