CINCINNATI -- The Reds have employed a four-man outfield rotation for most of this season. Jesse Winker was the odd-man out of the starting lineup for Thursday afternoon's 7-5 win over the Rockies at Great American Ball Park. Nevertheless, Winker was used as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, and he remained in the game in left field and definitely pulled his weight during a long afternoon.
Winker went 3-for-3 and hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 13th, the first walk-off homer in the big leagues for the outfielder.
"A very fun day, and a fun win, for sure," Winker said. "Whenever your name gets called upon, you just want to help contribute, hit the ball and make the plays if you get them to help the team win."
The win in the four-hour, 15 minute contest ended Cincinnati's losing streak at four, and it was the lone victory in the three-game set with Colorado.
Joey Votto led off the 13th inning with the game tied at 5 and was hit by a Chris Rusin pitch. With one out and a 2-1 count, Winker drove a cutter deep to right field for his second homer of the season.
"Joey getting on to start the inning was huge, obviously," said Winker, who is batting .263/.368/.357 in 54 games. "[Rusin] went fastball away, slider and then I thought he was going to go back to the fastball. I just recognized it and tried to put a good swing on it."
Dylan Floro pitched three scoreless innings of relief to get the win. It was his second three-inning scoreless appearance of the season -- both tied for his career long.
"He's really been outstanding," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Durable and effective. Sometimes, you get one or the other. You get someone who's durable, but ineffective or vice versa."
Colorado carried a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning when Cincinnati started chipping away. The Reds seemed poised to go ahead on multiple occasions only to fall short. After the bases were loaded with no outs against Mike Dunn, right-hander Scott Oberg took over to face Votto, who was seeking his first RBI since May 16. Votto did not deliver the big hit, but Billy Hamilton scored on his groundout. It ended Votto's career-long 18-game streak without an RBI.
Winker is splitting time in the outfield with Adam Duvall, Schebler and Hamilton. His subpar defense saw him sit during parts of a recent West Coast trip where there were larger outfields to cover. However, the overall at-bats for the four players have been close to evenly distributed.
"That's our message to our guys," Riggleman said. "We have an outfielder sitting every day, but almost every day, they get in the ballgame. This thing of, 'I'm out of whack because I'm not playing every day,' you pretty much are. People aren't sitting that much. He came off the bench and was ready to help us."
Winker's homer also marked the first time he hit a home run against a left-handed pitcher. He owns a .303 average vs. right-handers, but he is batting .161 lifetime vs. lefties. He has been watching Votto and Schebler in an effort to improve.
"It's something, I think, as a left-handed hitter can be used against you -- whether you can or can't hit lefties for whatever reason," Winker said. "Baseball has always been that way. Any time you can do some damage against lefties or anything productive, I feel like it helps build your case. As a guy that wants to play every day, you've got to be able to hit lefties, righties, whoever."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Eugenio Suarez, who came into the day tied for second in the National League with 44 RBIs, missed his opportunity to complete the comeback. In the eight inning, Suarez drove in Schebler on a fielder's choice, with Suarez advancing to second base while Scooter Gennett was caught in a rundown.
Winker came in to pinch-hit for Duvall and hit a single that bounced into right field. Suarez attempted to score the tying run from second base, but Carlos Gonzalez delivered a perfect throw to the plate, where Suarez was tagged out while not attempting a slide to end the inning.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Reliever Michael Lorenzen was called upon to pinch-hit for Mahle in the bottom of the fifth and scorched a leadoff single into left field. According to Statcast™, the exit velocity of the hit off the 2-0 fastball from Anderson was 116.5 mph. It was the highest exit velocity the Reds have recorded since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015 -- and the hardest hit by any Major League pitcher in that span.
HE SAID IT
"They really played good. They have a good offensive club as well. Our pitchers did a good job. The blip on the screen today was Amir giving up a couple. He's been doing a great job for us. We had [eight] innings of relief pitching that only gave up a couple of runs. We'll take that." -- Riggleman on the Reds' bullpen.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With one out and runners on the corners in the fourth inning, Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson dropped a bunt towards first base where Votto turned and fired to second base for the force out. As Tony Wolters barreled into second base, shortstop Alex Blandino's throw was offline to break up the double play.
The Reds challenged that Wolters' pop-up slide interfered, but the replay officials said there was no violation of the slide rule and the play was confirmed.
The homestand will continue with the Cardinals coming to Great American Ball Park for a three-game series that opens at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday. Matt Harvey will be seeking to rebound from his poorest outing as a Red when he starts against Luke Weaver. On Saturday vs. the Padres, Harvey allowed five runs (four earned) and six hits over five innings. He is 0-2 in four career starts vs. St. Louis despite a 2.05 ERA.