McCoy: Five home runs power Reds to rout of Braves

Cincinnati salvages final game of series with 12-3 win

The Cincinnati Reds turned their power supply to ultra-high Thursday in Truist Park and took out three days of frustration on the Atlanta Braves.

The Reds unloaded five home runs and knocked the Braves out of first place in the National League East, 12-3.

And Joey Votto did not hit a single one of those five balls that left the Truist playing field.

Jesse Winker lined a grand slam home, Tyler Naquist banged a three-run home run, Kyle Farmer ripped a two-run home run and Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson powered solo home runs.

Given a bushel full of runs, rookie pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez cruised to his fourth straight victory as the Reds ended a three-game losing streak.

Gutierrez held the Braves to one run, five hits, walked two and struck out six in six innings to push his record to 8-3.

He gave up the run and both walks in the first inning, then fed the Braves a heavy menu of dipping and diving sliders over the next scoreless five innings.

“I wasn’t as sharp in the first inning as I have been before,” said Gutierrez. “That’s why the two walks and the blooper hit (for a run) happened. After that, I was able to make my own adjustments.

“The pitching coaches told me before the second inning to just lean a little over backwards, stay a little bit back so you’ll be able to be better the rest of the game. And that’s what happened.”

The Reds, though, continue to spin their wheels in chasing the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. After beating the Chicago Cubs, 10-0, on Wednesday, the Brewers hung a 17-4 haymaker on the Cubs on Thursday.

So the Brewers maintain a bulky eight-game lead over the second-place Reds.

After the Braves scored a run in the first for a 1-0 lead, Atlanta starting pitcher Kyle Muller retired the first two Reds in the second.

Then before he could say, “Third out,” the Reds led, 4-1. Naquin singled and pitcher Gutierrez helped himself with a first-pitch single. India walked to fill the bases for Winker.

Winker was hitting .170 this season against left-handed pitchers. But Muller, a left-hander, hung a slider and Winker lined it into the right-field seats, his second career grand slam.

Asked about hitting the grand slam against a left-hander, Winker said, “Any time you can put the ball in play hard and get a positive result, it’s special.”

Winker’s home run was his 24th, one behind team leader Joey Votto. So do they have an inside competition between each other?

“It’s not a competition, we are just very supportive of one another,” said Winker. “Hitting home runs is cool. We push each other, for sure. But I wouldn’t say it’s a competition, it’s definitely competition with the other teams.

“That guy (Votto) hits home runs every day,” Winker added. “It’s so much fun to watch, man, and what he did yesterday (Wednesday, two two-run home runs) was so damn cool.”

The lead expanded to 9-1 in the third when Naquin crashed his three-run homer and India connected for his bases-empty rip.

And it became 11-1 in the sixth when Atlanta native Farmer delighted his family and friends in the park with his two-run homer.

Not to be outdone by a fellow Atlanta native, Stephenson gave his family and friends in the seats some excitement with a home run, his third hit.

Eleven of the Reds 12 runs came on home runs and it was the 17th time this season the Reds scored in double figures, most in the majors.

Every Reds starter, including pitcher Gutierrez, had at least one hit with the exception of Aristides Aquino.

Winker and Stephenson had three hits and Naquin and India had two each as part of Cincinnati’s 14-hit assault.

Winker seems more excited about Stephenson’s hometown homer than his grand slam.

“That’s awesome, man,” said Winker. “It was his first time playing in front of his friends and family in Atlanta.

“You know what, it’s just so cool because everyone here grew up watching Braves games and he probably grew up watching Braves games,” he said. “He just hit a home run here in Atlanta and I’m sure there were a lot of nerves for him.

“I remember the first time I played here in Atlanta with a bunch of friends here from Tampa,” Winker said. “It’s nerve-wracking, man. So, it’s cool that he got to hit that home run and I’m sure now every time he comes back here it will be easier and easier.”

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