Unlikely triples threat Bruce hits two straight
ATLANTA -- Jay Bruce has seemingly always hit the Braves. He hit his first career home run against them in his fifth Major League game and torched them in that series, going 9-for-13.
But there was one thing he'd never done against Atlanta pitching in his eight years in the league. He had never hit a triple.
Bruce took care of that on Saturday night at Turner Field as part of the Reds' 8-4 victory, doing so in consecutive innings and playing a part in the game's first four runs, all scored by Cincinnati.
In the fourth inning, with two out and nobody on in a scoreless game, Bruce fouled off three straight pitches at 2-2, then hit a drive to deep left field that eluded a leaping Kelly Johnson, hit the wall and rolled back toward the infield. Bruce slid into third just ahead of Atlanta center fielder Cameron Maybin's throw, and he scored the game's first run on Brandon Phillips' infield single.
In the fifth, he again beat a throw from Maybin, this time after sending a shot into the gap in right-center field that rolled all the way to the wall. The hit, again with two outs, scored Zack Cozart and Joey Votto and gave the Reds a 4-0 cushion.
The triples were a nice way to break what was an 0-for-7 skid in the series that Bruce felt wasn't really indicative of the way he'd been swinging.
"I would say the last week, the results haven't really matched how I felt in the at-bats," he said. "I've felt awesome the last seven, eight days. You just have to keep rolling. You just have to keep throwing quality at-bats out there and stick to what makes you successful and not miss pitches you get."
Bruce, who in two innings matched the total number of triples he'd produced over the previous two seasons, was certainly happy to log all that running on the basepaths.
"I welcomed it," he said, breaking into a smile. "I don't think I've ever done that."
Not a lot of Reds have had two triples in the same game, never mind back-to-back innings. Especially not lately.
While most teammates guessed that speedster Billy Hamilton was the last Reds player to do it, the actual answer is former outfielder Dmitri Young, who did it on Sept. 28, 2000, in Milwaukee, in the third and seventh innings as part of a 4-for-4 day.
"Da Meat Hook! It's been a long time. Two unlikely candidates," said Bruce, who now has 19 three-baggers for his career. "I'm definitely more likely."