With 8th HR, Reds' Aquino in category of one

August 13th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- As Reds right fielder keeps lifting baseballs out of ballparks, the sensation and buzz about the rookie’s awe-inducing power continues to crescendo.

With a two-run home run in the eighth inning, Aquino made history again during a 7-6 Reds’ loss to the Nationals on Monday. It was his eighth home run in 12 career games, which set a new Major League record.

“A lot of us say we’ve never seen anything like it and that would explain it. It’s never happened before,” Reds manager David Bell said. “The great thing is with the success, just the way he’s handling it, just his maturity level, he’s handled it with a lot of poise. We believe in him. We believe he’s going to keep going.

“We’re going to need him, too. It’s been fun to watch for everyone. It’s exciting when a young player from your own system comes up like that and is able to contribute.”

It was a 7-2 game in the eighth when Aquino clobbered a 1-0 fastball from reliever Tanner Rainey to right-center field.

According to Statcast, Rainey’s pitch velocity of 98.2 mph to Aquino tied for the fastest pitch hit for a homer by a Reds player this season. Jesse Winker did it on May 18 vs. the Dodgers. The exit velocity off Aquino’s bat was 105.8 mph and the ball traveled 425 feet.

A former Reds prospect, Rainey was traded to Washington in the offseason for starting pitcher Tanner Roark. In 2017, Rainey and Aquino played together at Double-A Pensacola.

“He’s my friend and I was ready for that pitch,” Aquino said via translator Julio Morillo.

So far, the Reds have been able to retrieve all of the balls Aquino has hit into the seats.

“I want to give those balls to special people I have in the Dominican,” Aquino said.

In 11 games since he was called up from Triple-A Louisville on Aug. 1, Aquino is batting .429 (15-for-35) with 16 RBIs. That means his eight homers account for 53.3 percent of all his hits.

Aquino, who had one big league at-bat last season, has also notched at least one RBI in seven consecutive games. The franchise record is 10 by Joe Morgan in 1976.

“I think the timing has been perfect,” Aquino said of his early success. “God has a plan, and I just want to go out there and do the best I can do.”