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1 at-bat, 1 HR: Reds prospect off to fast start

@m_sheldon
July 28, 2020

Tyler Stephenson made some Reds history in Monday's series-opening 8-7 loss to the Cubs at Great American Ball Park and nearly helped Cincinnati pull off an impressive comeback. The club's third-ranked prospect, who was also recently added to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, homered in his first plate appearance,

Tyler Stephenson made some Reds history in Monday's series-opening 8-7 loss to the Cubs at Great American Ball Park and nearly helped Cincinnati pull off an impressive comeback.

The club's third-ranked prospect, who was also recently added to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, homered in his first plate appearance, becoming the first Reds player to do so since pinch-hitter Ted Tappe did it on Sept. 14, 1950, at Brooklyn. Clyde Vollmer is the only other Red to achieve the feat -- on May 31, 1942, at Pittsburgh.

Players with home run in first at-bat

Stephenson finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored, finding himself in the thick of a comeback one day after being recalled from the Reds' alternate training site.

Chicago had an 8-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Stephenson, who replaced starter Curt Casali for the top of the inning, stepped up to bat against Cubs reliever Duane Underwood Jr.

"[Underwood] is actually a local Atlanta guy, so it's pretty funny how it all lined up, another local Atlanta guy that I'm facing for the first time," said Stephenson, a Georgia native. "Sure enough, he throws me a first-pitch curveball and I get a fastball out over the middle of the plate and I'm on time, I hit it. And after that, I don't know what happened. It's just pretty incredible."

The ball traveled 421 feet and cleared the fence in center field.

Scouting report on callup Tyler Stephenson

Stephenson then singled in his second at-bat in the eighth.

In the middle of a ninth-inning rally for the Reds -- who trailed, 7-0, entering the bottom of the sixth -- Stephenson drew a run-scoring walk off Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel on six pitches to trim the deficit to 8-7. For Stephenson, who grew up watching the Braves, facing the former Atlanta All-Star was surreal.

"It was a pretty crazy moment, but you obviously have to forget about those things, especially since we had a chance to win it and stuff," said Stephenson, the No. 11 overall selection from the 2015 Draft. "That was on my mind."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.