CINCINNATI -- For reasons even he can't totally explain, Joey Votto is back on top of his game as a hitter. And on Monday night, the Reds' first baseman moved to the top of the home run list at Great American Ball Park.In the third inning of an 11-3 victory
CINCINNATI -- For reasons even he can't totally explain, Joey Votto is back on top of his game as a hitter. And on Monday night, the Reds' first baseman moved to the top of the home run list at Great American Ball Park.
In the third inning of an 11-3 victory vs. the Padres, Votto hit a two-run homer to left field against Jhoulys Chacin. In addition to being homer No. 30 of the season, and his third in the past three games, it was Votto's 136th big fly hit at Great American Ball Park. It snapped a tie with former teammate Jay Bruce for the most at the stadium, which opened in 2003.
"Bye bye, Jay. He's a Met, who cares?" Votto joked about his friend.
It was also career home run No. 251 for Votto, tying him with Ted Kluszewski for fifth on the club's all-time list.
Coupled with his RBI single in the first inning, Votto singlehandedly provided the Reds with a 3-0 lead. Following his leadoff walk in the sixth, Votto scored on Adam Duvall's two-run homer.
Coming out of the All-Star break, Votto batted .128 (5-for-39) over his first 12 second-half games and saw his batting average dip 20 points, from .315 to .295.
It's been a 12-game hitting streak for Votto since that slump ended. He's 18-for-36 (.500) with four homers and 12 RBIs.
"I felt great coming out of the All-Star break, and sometimes you don't play well and you don't understand why," Votto said. "You've got to just make sure you stay on the field and grind it out. I feel like that's the case with this one. I was going 0-fer and I wasn't helping the team, and I felt like I was as prepared as I could be. I just can't explain either side of it at this point."
Votto smoked the 94-mph fastball from Chacin in a 1-2 count hard to the opposite field, and the ball landed in the first row of the left-field seats.
"It's hard to get him off-balance," Chacin said. "He always stays right on your pitches. He never wants to pull the ball. He'll stay inside-out. ... Votto, everybody knows he's a tough guy to get out."
It was the second time this season -- the first being June 7-9 -- that Votto has homered in three consecutive games. He's never done it four games in a row.
Votto, who hit 29 homers in each of the previous two seasons, has reached the 30-homer mark for the second time in his career. His career high was 37 during his 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Award-winning season.
"I know the question when he struggles is, 'What's wrong with him?' because of our expectations," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I think the thing is when he's just being a normal guy and not being unbelievably outstanding, we all think something is wrong with him. There's not. It's just him being human. He's been some kind of special here for a long time."
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.