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3rd career slam gives Suarez some redemption

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- In the 12th inning on Wednesday, when he had a chance to win the game for the Reds, Eugenio Suarez barreled a line drive to left field with runners on second and third base. It was caught by Corey Dickerson, but the drive was not deep enough for Joey Votto to tag up and score.

The normally easygoing Suarez was visibly upset that he didn't produce. On Thursday, it was Suarez who came through with the biggest hit -- a grand slam -- in the third inning of a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park. Suarez didn't take a big, booming swing against pitcher Ivan Nova -- and he didn't need to.

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CINCINNATI -- In the 12th inning on Wednesday, when he had a chance to win the game for the Reds, Eugenio Suarez barreled a line drive to left field with runners on second and third base. It was caught by Corey Dickerson, but the drive was not deep enough for Joey Votto to tag up and score.

The normally easygoing Suarez was visibly upset that he didn't produce. On Thursday, it was Suarez who came through with the biggest hit -- a grand slam -- in the third inning of a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park. Suarez didn't take a big, booming swing against pitcher Ivan Nova -- and he didn't need to.

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"That was a breaking ball down at my foot," Suarez said. "I just tried to put the barrel on it, and I hit it really well. I caught it right as the ball broke. It was really good."

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Suarez connected but didn't crush the 2-2 pitch from Nova. The exit velocity, according to Statcast™, was only 95 mph, and the ball traveled a projected 374 feet.

Enough to get the job done and turn a scoreless game into a 4-0 Reds lead.

Video: PIT@CIN: Riggleman on Castillo's outing, Suarez's bat

"Most guys, when they hit home runs, it looks like they took a nice, easy swing, but they squared it up so good that the ball really jumps," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "That ball really carried a long way for a nice, easy swing."

It was the third grand slam of Suarez's career and his eighth home run of the season.

The inning started ominously for Nova when he walked Reds starter Luis Castillo. Following a single on the ground to right field by Jesse Winker and a popout by Jose Peraza, Scooter Gennett hit a soft two-out grounder that was fielded by Nova. His throw, which went wide and was ruled an error, left everyone safe and extended the inning.

Video: PIT@CIN: Gennett reaches on Nova's throwing error

That opened the door for Suarez with the bases loaded.

"I always try to help my team when I have those situations," said Suarez, who was signed to a seven-year, $66 million contract during Spring Training. "I try to put a really good swing on it. I never try to do too much. I just try to drive in the closest one; this one was the guy on third base. I just tried to drive one in. God blessed me with four, and I'll take it."

Despite his missing 16 games this season with a fractured right thumb, Suarez's 38 RBIs have him tied with the Cubs' Javier Baez for the National League lead. He's hit six homers with 31 RBIs in 26 games since being activated from the disabled list.

"He's been really clutch for us," Riggleman said. "We just keep running him out there. He's a heck of a player."

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