Reds go back to back to back on 5-HR night

April 10th, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The quest for Reds outfielders to get their groove back offensively began several hours before the team busted out for a 14-0 rout over the Marlins on Tuesday night to end an eight-game losing streak. Cincinnati slugged five home runs, including the somewhat rare feat of hitting back-to-back-to-back blasts from , and in the sixth inning.

It started with Kemp and doing extra hitting work well before batting practice at Great American Ball Park with coaches Turner Ward, Donnie Ecker and Delino DeShields. Kemp came into the game 2-for-22 (.091) while Winker was 1-for-24 (.042) and Scott Schebler entered 4-for-29 (.138) as most of the offense sputtered out of the gate.

“No matter what job you have, if you’re not performing the way you want to perform, you’ll maybe work a little extra on some things,” Winker said. “I don’t think one game defines anything. I don’t think 10 games define anything, to be honest with you. Today we just worked on, it was literally just hitting off the fastball machine, that’s it. We went back to basics just hitting some balls hard and continuing to put the barrel on the ball for about 15-20 minutes by myself. That’s all it was, nothing too crazy. It was really good, it was really fun.”

The Reds already had a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning against Marlins starter Jose Urena when Winker connected on a 2-0 pitch for an opposite-field homer -- his first of the season. In the seven-run sixth against lefty reliever Wei-Yin Chen, Winker added a hard RBI single through the right side of a shallow-playing infield, with a second run coming home on Peter O’Brien’s fielding error on the hit.

Winker also came in with .095 batting average on balls in play and often fell victim to bad luck. Statcast data showed he had a 38.9 percent of contact being hard-hit balls. That didn’t include his second at-bat vs. Urena, when he scorched a hot grounder that was stopped by diving first baseman Neil Walker for the third out that left the bases loaded.

“It’s one of those things with the information we have defensively now and everything that’s out there, to put the barrel on the ball and hit some right at guys is just part of the game now,” Winker said.

Following Winker’s sixth-inning single against Chen, Joey Votto was hit by a pitch. Then the Reds’ power escalated several notches starting with Kemp hitting a 1-1 Chen pitch for his first home run as a Red, a three-run opposite-field drive to the right-field seats.

Next was Suarez, who lifted his second homer of the season -- and 100th of his career -- that easily crossed the left-field wall and gave the Reds back-to-back homers for the first time in 2019. Coming in batting .192 with seven strikeouts in 26 at-bats, Suarez opted to stick with his early work routine.

“My routine is to hit on the tee and soft tosses,” Suarez said. “That’s all I did. I didn’t change anything -- my mentality and physical [approach] was all the same.”

Capping off the rally was Schebler, who went opposite field with his second homer, a shot to left-field. That gave Cincinnati it’s first back-to-back-to-back homers since May 21, 2012, vs. the Braves when Mike Leake, Zack Cozart and Drew Stubbs did it against Mike Minor.

“You obviously see the names that are around here. It was just a matter of time,” Schebler said. “I kept telling people when we break out it's going to be a party. It kind of turned into that today. It was a fun offensive game.”

The only outfielder to not get to enjoy the breakout night was Yasiel Puig, who is batting .133 and serving a two-game suspension issued earlier in the day for his role in a bench-clearing incident at Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“We dug ourselves a hole so we’ve got to slowly climb out of that,” Schebler said. “We’ll take every single run we can get right now. We just need this to carry into tomorrow. That’s where we’re at now. We’re on to the next game.”

Castillo dominates from the mound

By the time the runs started raining on Miami, it was all gravy to support the pitching performance of Reds starter Luis Castillo, who allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out eight over seven innings.

In three starts this season, Castillo has a 0.92 ERA with two earned runs given up over 19 2/3 innings.

“He was commanding his fastball,” said acting manager Freddie Benavides, who filled in while David Bell served a one-game suspension. “We all know the changeup he's got is devastating at times and he was on tonight. It was good to see.”