CINCINNATI -- Hey Mike Trout and Pete Alonso, Eugenio Suarez is nipping at your heels right now -- and maybe not for long.
Michael Lorenzen’s pinch-hit double may have given the Reds a thrilling walk-off win in the ninth inning over the D-backs on Sunday. But the 4-3 victory would not have been possible without Suarez, who slugged two home runs, including the game-tying solo shot in the eighth inning.
Suarez has 44 homers in 2019, which puts him one behind the Major League co-leaders, Trout from the Angels and Alonso for the Mets.
“I’m close to the big guys,” Suarez said. “Big homers, big names. I’m happy for that. I’m proud of myself and what I do and who I am right now.”
Trout is the favorite to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award and Alonso seems a lock for National League Rookie of the Year. Suarez has gotten little national recognition for the fourth-place Reds.
“He does it quietly,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We certainly recognize it and are really grateful for it. We know how great of a player he is. He’s just quietly snuck up and is close to leading the league in home runs. It’s not something that gets mentioned as much as maybe it should.”
Suarez could soon be the first Red with 45 homers in a year since Adam Dunn hit 46 in 2004. The single-season franchise record is 52 homers, owned by George Foster in 1977.
Cincinnati was trailing, 1-0, in the third inning when Joey Votto hit a one-out single against former Reds starter Mike Leake. On a 2-0 pitch from Leake, Suarez lifted a two-run home run to right-center field.
But Ketel Marte put Arizona ahead by one run with a two-run homer in the fifth inning against Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani.
With one out in the eighth inning, Suarez pulled a 2-1 slider from Jimmie Sherfy inside the left-field foul pole to make it a 3-3 game. He has seven multi-homer games in his career and three this season.
Suarez has hit four of the Reds’ last five home runs and has 10 homers in his last 14 games.
“Dreams come true, you know? I try to do my best and today was a good example,” Suarez said.
In the ninth inning of Saturday's 2-0 loss, Suarez had a chance to win the game against Sherfy, as he represented the go-ahead run with two men on and one out. He struck out on three pitches -- all sliders -- and didn’t look good while doing it.
“It was tough yesterday. He struck me out with three breaking balls in the dirt,” Suarez said. “Today, when I saw him come into the game, I was ready. I’m always ready for a fastball, but I was looking for that breaking ball. He’s got a really good one. He put it right in my power strike zone and I hit it really good.”