CINCINNATI -- The ability to quickly forget about doing something wrong has sure helped the Reds do a whole lot right in their season-opening series against the Phillies. Joey Votto and Scott Schebler both shook off striking out three times before collecting game-winning hits in the Reds' first two games.The
CINCINNATI -- The ability to quickly forget about doing something wrong has sure helped the Reds do a whole lot right in their season-opening series against the Phillies. Joey Votto and Scott Schebler both shook off striking out three times before collecting game-winning hits in the Reds' first two games.
The Red looking for redemption in Cincinnati's 10-6 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday was right fielder Jay Bruce, who made a fielding gaffe in the top of the third inning that led to the Phillies' first run. He made up for that -- and then some -- with three hits, including two home runs, and five RBIs.
"That's when you look to your experienced players to shake something like that off," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
It was a scoreless game in the top of the third with two outs and two on when Ryan Howard hit a routine single into right field. As runner Charlie Morton reached third base, Bruce botched fielding the ball for an error that allowed the unearned run to score against Robert Stephenson.
"The best kind of memory in this game is a short one," Bruce said. "It was just a bad play by me. It didn't take a bad hop or anything. I rushed a little bit. I don't even think he was being sent. They were going to stop him at third.
"I take a lot of pride in my defense. That's just not a play I am OK with making. You have to have a short memory."
The eight-run bottom of the fourth left a rosier glow, as Bruce batted twice, hitting his first homer of the game and posting four RBIs.
In his first time up in the big rally, Bruce launched Morton's 86 mph 3-1 pitch into the right-field seats. But it was Bruce's next two hits that perhaps more clearly underscored some of the offseason adjustments the 29-year-old has made. After the Reds batted around in the fourth, Bruce hit an RBI single to center field against lefty reliever Brett Oberholtzer. Then leading off the seventh against Oberholtzer, Bruce lifted a 1-1 pitch to straightaway center field for the 210th homer of his career -- tying him for seventh all-time on the club with Ken Griffey Jr.
Bruce's three previous hits over the first two games were also hit to left or center field. He had made changes to his hitting mechanics with coach Don Long to enable him to use the whole field and take better advantage of what he's given.
"I feel like I've put myself in a better position, ideally, to use the whole field better," Bruce said. "I think the biggest thing I expect from the changes and adjustments that I've made is to miss less pitches, foul less balls off and just end at-bats when they should be ended. Anytime you get a pitch to handle, the at-bat needs to be over. You're probably not going to get another one."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.