Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Farmer, Suarez hit solo jacks in finale loss

Kemp sustains bruised chest wall; Mahle settles in after rough third
@oapostrophesd
April 21, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Reds are one-eighth of the way through their season, and their offense remains more about hope than results. But there is one area Cincinnati can count on -- the club is pretty adept at jogging around the bases. The power game is definitely ahead of batting

SAN DIEGO -- The Reds are one-eighth of the way through their season, and their offense remains more about hope than results.

But there is one area Cincinnati can count on -- the club is pretty adept at jogging around the bases. The power game is definitely ahead of batting consistency for the Reds at this point. They hit two home runs Sunday afternoon in a 4-3 loss to the Padres at Petco Park and have 29 homers this season.

That ranks 13th in the Majors. For a squad that’s dead last in team batting average, it’s something.

Cincinnati was down by three runs through three innings, but it got solo home runs from Kyle Farmer and Eugenio Suárez in the seventh inning to get within a run and put themselves in position to sneak out of San Diego with a four-game sweep.

That didn’t happen, as the Padres held on to snap a six-game losing streak. Still, the Reds took three of four games in the series and hit eight big flies while doing so. Derek Dietrich had a tiebreaker in the 11th inning on Friday, and all four runs on Thursday came via three homers.

The challenge remains how to get more runners aboard before the power arrives.

“It really feels like it’s getting closer,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “The power is a good thing. I expect that we’re going to get more baserunners, whether that comes from the walk or the base hit.”

The Reds have held their own in the slugging category even though Joey Votto and Yasiel Puig have only four homers between them. Conversely, Votto sat out the final two games of the series because of back tightness and Matt Kemp sustained a bruised chest wall when he hit the left-field wall in the third inning. An extended absence by either would dampen the excitement about a pending offensive renaissance.

In the meantime, Bell could point to the fact that the Reds had 11 baserunners on Sunday. It just so happened that the power came with the bases empty.

“When we can combine the two, that’s going to be a good thing,” Bell said.

Bell envisions innings ahead much like the one the Padres put together in the third. Austin Hedges hit a leadoff homer off Tyler Mahle, and San Diego later strung together five straight hits for a four-run inning. Mahle found his rhythm and lasted six innings with no further damage, but Joey Lucchesi and the Padres' bullpen made the four runs hold up despite Cincinnati’s late power.

“The only good thing to take away is that I didn’t let that impact me and I settled in,” Mahle said. “Still, that’s two starts in a row letting the other team have a big inning. I know what I have to do to fix that.”

The Dodgers touched Mahle for a three-run second inning in his previous start. He said he needs to trust his changeup and use it in jams.

The Reds, meanwhile, are looking forward to putting the opponent in such jams.

“We had opportunities today,” Bell said. “We had baserunners. That’s what you’re looking for. It’s just a matter of time before we’re scoring more runs.”

Shaun O'Neill is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @oapostrophesd.