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Suarez leads power surge vs. Rockies

June 2, 2016

DENVER -- Eugenio Suarez hit two home runs as the Reds pounded the Rockies, 11-4, on Thursday night at Coors Field to win their first road series this season.Cincinnati chased Rockies starter Eddie Butler after four-plus frames, scoring in all but one inning they faced him. Jay Bruce had an

DENVER -- Eugenio Suarez hit two home runs as the Reds pounded the Rockies, 11-4, on Thursday night at Coors Field to win their first road series this season.
Cincinnati chased Rockies starter Eddie Butler after four-plus frames, scoring in all but one inning they faced him. Jay Bruce had an RBI triple in the first and Zack Cozart homered to lead off the third, but the big damage came in a six-run fifth inning. The Reds hit around in the fifth, with the first six batters reaching base, highlighted by Suarez's three-run home run.
"I feel great," Suarez said. "After this game, everybody feels great. That was a really good game for us."

Butler was charged with a career-high eight runs on a season-high 11 hits. The right-hander felt that the command of his four-seam fastball was not on point and he left too many pitches up over the plate.
"I just didn't make good pitches, and when I did, they still found a way to hit it," Butler said. "They hit every mistake I threw."
The Rockies hit three homers off Reds starter Alfredo Simon -- back-to-back solo shots by Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado in the fourth and a two-run blast by Trevor Story in the seventh -- but he was able to limit the damage otherwise. Simon earned his first road win of the year, surrendering four runs on five hits over seven innings with six strikeouts.
Disappointment lingers for Rockies after series loss
"I just put in my mind to go deep in the game," Simon said. "There were a lot of games where I didn't go five or six innings. I tried to help the bullpen. They've been used a lot. For me, I tried to win the game and throw the ball down. Everything came true."
"Trey" Bruce: With two outs in the top of the first inning, Bruce hit an RBI triple to the wall and made it a 1-0 game. The three-base hit gave Bruce his Major League-leading fifth triple of the season and two in two nights. During the big fifth inning, he also added an RBI double that scored Joey Votto and padded the lead.

"I hit it and run until I think I should stop," Bruce said. More >
Back-to-back jacks: Gonzalez and Arenado hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, the fifth time this season the Rockies have pulled off the feat and the second time that duo has done it. It was also the sixth home run Gonzalez has hit in eight days, which has helped raise his slugging percentage from .437 to .534.

"[Simon's] got good stuff," Gonzalez said. "He got me with a split the first at-bat. He threw me everything he's got -- cutter, fastballs, sinker, two types of curveballs. I was able to stay back and give him a fight in the second at-bat and drive the ball over the fence in center field with the same pitch he got me in the first at-bat with the ground ball."
Suarez sizzles again: Entering the night with three hits in his last 37 at-bats, Suarez tied a career high with three hits and another with four RBIs. It was the first two-homer game of his career. Batting in the fifth inning, he hit reliever Chad Qualls' first pitch of the night for a three-run opposite-field homer to right field that made it a 9-2 game. Suarez's solo shot with two outs in the sixth against Gonzalez Germen was a majestic one to center field. Statcast™ projected it landed 465 feet away and left the bat at 108 mph.

"May for me was really hard because of the struggles," Suarez said, "but my mind has changed. Right now, I feel stronger. When you feel strong, your mind changes. Just play the game, enjoy the game -- no matter what happens. The coaches say, my teammates say, my wife says a lot, everybody -- it doesn't matter what happens in the game, enjoy the game and play your game."
Another Story homer: Story continued his torrid start to the 2016 season with his 15th home run, one behind his Arenado's NL-leading total. Story took a hanging breaking ball from Simon deep to left field, driving in Mark Reynolds. The home run was projected by Statcast™ to land 414 feet away, which is his seventh-longest home run of the season.

"He's obviously a talented kid," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's all about consistency, doing it over the long haul. He's shown the ability to make adjustments pretty well, and he'll have to continue doing that as a player. I think he will because he's got the right makeup and got the right skillset."
"We knew the front-end of the season was probably going to be the most challenging, especially after all the injuries in Spring Training and at the beginning of the season. Now to be able to get deep into the game with a couple of starters to shorten what we can do with the bullpen, the matchup stuff is way easier, obviously." -- Reds manager Bryan Price, after John Lamb and Simon gave his club back-to-back seven-inning starts for the first time this season
When Gonzalez and Arenado took Simon deep in the fourth inning, it marked the first time this season that a team hit back-to-back homers vs. the Reds. It's a somewhat surprising stat since Cincinnati leads the Majors with 91 home runs allowed.
The Reds hit 12 homers in a series for the first time since they hit 15 homers in a three-game series at Philadelphia in September 1999.
The 24 home runs hit by the Reds and Rockies this series is tied for the second-most hit in a series of four games or less. The record is held by the Rockies and Dodgers, who hit 25 home runs from June 27-30, 1996.
Rockies catcher Tony Wolters was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning. Weiss said there were too many signs that he was woozy, and the team put him through the concussion protocol after the game. It is unclear if he will travel with the team to San Diego.
Reds: With a 4-6 road trip over, the Reds head home to begin a three-game series with manager Dusty Baker's Nationals at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday. Brandon Finnegan, who is winless in his last eight starts (as is Cincinnati), will get the start vs. Gio Gonzalez in a matchup of left-handers.
Rockies: The Rockies will head to San Diego for their first road series in seven days with Chris Rusin taking the mound at 8:40 MT on Friday.. He faced the Padres earlier this season in a 1 1/3-inning relief appearance, allowing three runs on eight hits, and has a 4.75 ERA on the season.
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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for and covered the Rockies on Thursday.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for 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.