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Suarez homers in 5th straight, Reds top Phils

Third baseman becomes eighth Cincy player to HR in 5 straight games
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- No, Eugenio Suarez isn't suddenly trying to hit home runs at a prolific rate. But the Reds third baseman is on quite a streak of hitting them this week. During Cincinnati's 6-4 victory over the Phillies at Great American Ball Park on Friday, Suarez tied a club record with a home run in his fifth straight game.

"I never try to hit a homer," Suarez said. "If I change to hit a homer, my swing changes, my mind starts thinking about all the other stuff. I just try to put my best swing on the ball and catch a good pitch in the strike zone. Wherever the ball goes doesn't matter to me, I just want to put a really good swing on it."

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CINCINNATI -- No, Eugenio Suarez isn't suddenly trying to hit home runs at a prolific rate. But the Reds third baseman is on quite a streak of hitting them this week. During Cincinnati's 6-4 victory over the Phillies at Great American Ball Park on Friday, Suarez tied a club record with a home run in his fifth straight game.

"I never try to hit a homer," Suarez said. "If I change to hit a homer, my swing changes, my mind starts thinking about all the other stuff. I just try to put my best swing on the ball and catch a good pitch in the strike zone. Wherever the ball goes doesn't matter to me, I just want to put a really good swing on it."

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It was scoreless in the bottom of the second inning when Suarez slugged a 3-2 slider from Nick Pivetta and cleared the fence in center field to extend his team lead with 24 homers this season. According to Statcast™, the ball was hit hard with a 105.3 mph exit velocity.

"It's unreal," Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani said of Suarez. "It's like a video game or something. It's like automatic, it seems like every time he comes to the plate. It's definitely fun to watch, no doubt about it."

Suarez became the eighth Red to hit a homer in five consecutive games and the first since Jay Bruce in 2016. All of his homers in the streak have either given the Reds a tie or the lead.

The feat has also been achieved for Cincinnati by Devin Mesoraco (2014), Adam Dunn (2008), Ken Griffey Jr. (2003), Johnny Bench (1972), George Crowe (1957) and Ted Kluszewski (1954).

"That's a big honor to me, to be part of the Reds' history, to tie the record with this homer," Suarez said. "That's special. It's a big honor to me to be part of this team and tie the record like this. I'm so happy to be part of the Reds history."

Despite missing 16 games in April with a fractured right thumb, Suarez leads the National League with 79 RBIs while batting .305/.389/.588 in 87 games. Signed to a seven-year, $66 million contract in March, and named a first-time All-Star earlier this month, he could be in line for votes at the end of the season for NL Most Valuable Player.

"I always say hard work pays off. I never stop working hard," Suarez said. "I try to be better every day, do my job, do my best, put my heart in the game. That's why I got this opportunity to tie the record."

The longest home run streak this season in the Majors was Matt Carpenter's stretch of six straight games, when he hit eight homers overall between July 14-21. Dale Long, Don Mattingly and Griffey Jr. share the MLB record with eight-game streaks with at least one home run.

"[He's] having great at-bats," interim manager Jim Riggleman said of Suarez. "Every now and then, he'll have an at-bat where they really make some great pitches on him and get a few swings and misses in there. But when they've made a mistake, he's really made them pay for it."

In the fourth inning of a 2-2 game, newcomer Mason Williams attacked Pivetta's 1-2 curveball and pulled it into the right-field seats for a three-run home run -- his first with Cincinnati and the second in his big league career.

Video: PHI@CIN: Williams hits 3-run HR for 1st hit as a Red

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Quick hook for DeSclafani: DeSclafani racked up six strikeouts in his first three innings, while also giving up Odubel Herrera's two-run homer with two outs in the third. In the Phillies' fifth inning with one out, a pair of hits, including Rhys Hoskins' RBI single, made it a two-run game as DeSclafani sat at 87 pitches. Riggleman pulled his starter for reliever Amir Garrett, and defended his move.

"It's trying to win the game," Riggleman said. "I don't care who's pitching. We can leave him in there, try to get five [innings] and get a win and all that, but at most, the pitch count was getting to a place where I thought -- if I let him try to pitch through it -- he might get one more, probably not. I felt like that was the game right there. We've got to shut the game down right now. "

Herrera followed with a groundout to first base, with Garrett injuring his left Achilles tendon while falling down covering the bag. David Hernandez got out of the fifth inning and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings en route to earning the victory.

Video: PHI@CIN: Garrett covers first, leaves with injury

"I wasn't tired. And I didn't know that was going to be my last batter," DeSclafani said. "But I know I was in a little bit of a jam. We were up by three, but I guess Jim just had a feeling that things were going to go south. That was his gut feeling, he went with it and he brought him in. We ended up winning the game."

SOUND SMART
Joey Votto was intentionally walked to load the bases in the Reds' seventh inning, which set a new club record. It was the 136th intentional walk of Votto's career, which put him alone in first ahead of Johnny Bench's 135.

HE SAID IT
"That was a huge at-bat. Later in the game, he got a bunt down for us. He played a good right field. He's a very athletic young man, and he came through big for us." -- Riggleman, on Williams' home run

UP NEXT
In Saturday's 6:40 p.m. ET game vs. the Phillies, Suarez will seek to become the first Reds hitter to ever notch a homer in six consecutive games. It could also be Matt Harvey's final start in a brief tenure for the Reds, as it's his last chance to pitch before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Harvey is coming off of his worst start for Cincinnati, surrendering eight earned runs, with a career-high four homers allowed over 3 2/3 innings in a 9-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday. He faces off against right-hander Vince Velasquez for the Phillies.

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

Cincinnati Reds, Eugenio Suarez