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Scooter continues breakout '17 with 4-hit game

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- When Scooter Gennett hit a bloop single to left field in his first at-bat Sunday, it may have ignited flashbacks of his four-home run, 10-RBI game on June 6.

That's also how Gennett began that breakout game, one of the best offensive performances in Major League history. Gennett has been a regular in the lineup since Zack Cozart landed on the disabled list with a right quad strain June 19, and he's taking advantage of his chances.

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WASHINGTON -- When Scooter Gennett hit a bloop single to left field in his first at-bat Sunday, it may have ignited flashbacks of his four-home run, 10-RBI game on June 6.

That's also how Gennett began that breakout game, one of the best offensive performances in Major League history. Gennett has been a regular in the lineup since Zack Cozart landed on the disabled list with a right quad strain June 19, and he's taking advantage of his chances.

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Though he didn't set any records like he did in his showing earlier this month, Gennett went 4-for-5 with a home run in the Reds' 6-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday at Nationals Park.

"He's a monster," Reds outfielder Scott Schebler said. "He's been swinging a hot stick in a time right now when we need that. You can't put into words how important that is. He's so fun to be around, so you can only be happy for a guy like that."

After June 6, Gennett didn't knock another homer until June 18. But in his past seven contests, the 27-year-old has recorded four home runs, including two this series.

He launched a 391-foot homer, per Statcast™, over the right-field wall in the second inning Sunday to give the Reds a 6-0 cushion, falling to his left knee to make contact with Tanner Roark's slider headed for the dirt.

Gennett's eight home runs and 22 RBIs in June are both the most in any month of his five-year career. After recording 14 home runs in 136 games last season, he's notched 11 homers in just 61 outings this year.

"He's just been swinging the bat great, playing good defense and getting some more playing time and really making the most of it, so I'm really happy for him," said Reds right-hander Scott Feldman, who earned the win Sunday. "He's obviously got some pop that he's showing right now."

Reds manager Bryan Price won't guarantee Gennett will continue to be an everyday player when Cozart returns, but he said he'll do his best to continue to give the second baseman at-bats. Price compared Gennett to a skilled sixth-man in basketball, coming in to provide the team instant offense.

Gennett said he maintains a positive attitude regardless of whether he's in the lineup, and his teammates laud him as one of the most optimistic players in the clubhouse.

"He's been really a terrific player everywhere we put him on the field," Price said. "In the clubhouse, he's been a terrific teammate. He's kind of like our sharpshooter. He's that guy that so comfortably just blends in when you need a player for a long stint."

Gennett said he'd like to watch Schebler and Cody Bellinger in the Home Run Derby since they're young players with power. Maybe Gennett should consider entering himself.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Cincinnati Reds, Scooter Gennett