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Dietrich makes a splash with 2 HRs into river

@JakeCrouseMLB
April 7, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- Derek Dietrich had his third career two-homer game against the Pirates on Sunday, plating four runs in a heated game that ended with the Reds' eighth consecutive loss, 7-5. Starting in place of Joey Votto, Dietrich launched his first home run into the Allegheny River beyond PNC Park’s

PITTSBURGH -- Derek Dietrich had his third career two-homer game against the Pirates on Sunday, plating four runs in a heated game that ended with the Reds' eighth consecutive loss, 7-5.

Starting in place of Joey Votto, Dietrich launched his first home run into the Allegheny River beyond PNC Park’s gates to open the scoring for the Reds in the second inning. It rocketed off the bat at 110.2 mph and traveled a projected 436 feet, ricocheting off the bank of the river and into the water. Dietrich became just the 32nd player to hit a ball into the Allegheny River at PNC Park.

Dietrich stood and watched the homer for a second, and in the ensuing at-bat, Chris Archer threw a 93-mph fastball behind Dietrich’s back. However, Archer claims he didn’t throw at him intentionally.

“I threw him a pitch middle-away [on the homer], and he was able to extend his arms, so I was just trying to go in,” Archer said. “I air-mailed a couple of balls today, a couple that I was trying to elevate, a couple I yanked when righties were up there. It was another one that I just yanked.”

Dietrich wasn’t happy to be thrown at, nor happy to see the scuffle break out, but with the way the Reds have struggled to bat in the first games of the year, he thought it could add something positive for the team.

“I was hoping that maybe that would get us rolling a little bit, and I think it did,” he said. “We came together a little bit there as a team.”

The Reds struck for five runs -- all on home runs -- for the second day in a row after being shut out the prior three games. Scott Schebler hit a solo home run in the third inning, then Dietrich ripped his second of the day, this time off Kingham in the eighth inning.

Again, it was to right center field and more than 400 feet deep. And again, he gave it a good look.

“It felt good, even with the two strikeouts,” Dietrich said. “Listen, [Archer’s] a great pitcher. We’ve had some tough battles in the past, even when he was in Tampa Bay and I was in Miami, but the past is the past and today is a new day, and I just tried to put good swings on the baseball and do damage to the baseball.”

“[Dietrich] had a great day. He did his job,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He performed great today, and it’s unfortunate that it’s acceptable that they’re allowed to try to intentionally hurt one of our players. He had a great day.”

Starting pitching success hits snag

The Reds had a phenomenal run of success with their pitching -- especially on the starting end -- to begin the year. But that stretch came to a halt as the Pirates taxed Anthony DeSclafani for six runs, three of which scored on hits allowed by reliever David Hernandez.

DeSclafani was stellar in his first start of the year, striking out eight batters over five one-run frames. But on Sunday, outside of a perfect third inning, he struggled to limit the Pirates’ bats. Adam Frazier hit a first-pitch home run to start the day, and Josh Bell, who doubled twice and homered on Saturday, continued his power surge with a homer in the fourth.

After hitting Frazier on the foot with a breaking ball and giving up a single to Francisco Cervelli, DeSclafani was lifted for Hernandez, who allowed back-to-back hits to make it a three-run inning for the Pirates.

Over 42 1/3 combined innings entering Sunday, Reds starters had posted a 2.55 ERA. It's not a number skewed by incredible fielding either -- they had set a 2.52 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) mark as well. This comes after a year in which Cincinnati's starters combined for a 5.02 ERA.

The Reds starters as a group had only allowed one homer coming into Sunday’s game for a Major League-best 2.9 home-runs-per-fly-ball rate; they were worst in the big leagues in 2018, with a 17.3 percent rate.

Reds acquire Refsnyder

The Reds have acquired first baseman and outfielder Rob Refsnyder from the D-backs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. He will report to Triple-A Louisville.

Refsnyder, 28, is a career .218/.308/.302 batter across 367 at-bats at the Major League level. He was a fifth-round pick by the Yankees in the 2012 Draft out of the University of Arizona.

Jake Crouse is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter @JakeCrouseMLB.