CINCINNATI -- The Reds rolled over the Tigers in the opener of their brief Interleague series on Tuesday, totaling 13 hits -- including two homers -- in a 9-5 win at Great American Ball Park.
Nearly every Cincinnati hitter contributed at least a hit against the Tigers' pitching, including Joey Votto, whose first home run in 30 games was one of his most impactful, arriving during peak traffic time on the basepaths and giving the Reds their first big lead.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Votto launched his third career grand slam off Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd in the third inning, pushing the Reds ahead, 4-0. The homer, Votto's seventh of the season, was his first since May 13.
"I would like to think it's all part of the season," Votto said. "I have felt good throughout. I think I've been swinging well. It hasn't shown up."
The grand slam arrived after Billy Hamilton, batting in the nine-hole, drew a walk to open the inning, followed by a Jose Peraza single and a walk to Tucker Barnhart to load the bases. Votto's grand slam, hit on a 72-mph curveball, barely cleared the wall in right field, traveling 329 feet.
"I think it was a 50-50 call," Votto said. "I'm very grateful that it went over the fence."
The ball had a 43-degree launch angle, typical for Boyd, who entered his start against the Reds Tuesday with the second-highest percentage of batted balls at 40 degrees or more (26.8 percent). Before Votto, opponents were 1-for-56 on those balls.
Hamilton slugged the Reds' second homer, a solo shot in the sixth inning off Warwick Saupold that gave Cincinnati a six-run lead. Adam Duvall, 3-for-4 on the night, contributed a two-run double later in the inning.
The Reds have won five of their past seven games and have scored 17 runs over their past two contests.
"Everybody's out here trying to do the best they can and perform well," Votto said. "We all have to for this ship to move along. It's all hands on deck. Today was a good example of that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Romano strong over seven: Sal Romano, also dominant in his prior outing, produced another solid start, throwing seven shutout innings and allowing four hits, four walks and striking out six. He issued walks in four different innings, but none of the baserunners advanced past first base. Only two Detroit baserunners reached second during Romano's 107-pitch outing.
"I was really trying to work on my fastball, and my curveball was probably the best it's been all year," Romano said. "It was a big pitch for me today."
In his past two starts, Romano has allowed one run over 15 combined innings.
"The last two starts, he's been fantastic," said Barnhart, who caught Romano on Tuesday. "He's been able to see himself have success with his fastball. I think that makes everything else better. Obviously, the results are showing. He's working as hard as everybody. The rough patch that he's had, he's hopefully on the way out of that. He's thrown great the last two starts. Hopefully, it'll snowball."
Hamilton hits: Hamilton, who entered the game with a sub-.200 batting average, contributed mightily from the nine-hole. His leadoff walk in the third started a rally highlighted by Votto's grand slam. Then in the sixth, facing Saupold, Hamilton lifted a 368-foot homer to right. Including his 3-for-4 performance in Pittsburgh Sunday, Hamilton, who also singled in the seventh, has five hits in his past eight at-bats.
"With the day off [Monday] ... sometimes a guy doesn't carry it into his next game," manager Jim Riggleman said, "but he did. He continues to do what he does defensively, but he was on the bases all night. He kind of dropped the head of the bat down on a slider for the home run. He's making progress."
Barnhart reached base safely all five times, going 3-for-3 with a walk and a plunking. It's the first time in his career that he's reached base safely in all five plate appearances.
HE SAID IT
"The bird kept dancing in front. I wanted to let it know, 'Go on now, scoot.' But I was a little concerned with PETA's reaction. So I figured I'd back off and just hit." -- Votto, on the bird that was on the field for much game
The Reds and Tigers conclude their brief two-game Interleague set at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. ET. Right-hander Tyler Mahle (5-6, 3.96 ERA) will make his first career start against Detroit. He currently ranks among National League rookie leaders in ERA, wins, starts (14), innings pitched (75) and strikeouts (68). The Tigers will counter with right-hander Michael Fulmer (3-5, 4.13).