Duvall turning up heat on already hot month

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Duvall achieved a career first Wednesday night, and he went into Thursday night’s game a few at-bats away from establishing some more milestones.

The two runs Duvall drove in Wednesday night, one of which was the game-winner in the eighth inning against Milwaukee, marked the first time he has had multiple RBIs in three consecutive games after also driving in a pair Monday at St. Louis and Tuesday against the Brewers.

But Duvall, who also homered Tuesday and Wednesday, was swinging a hot bat well before the week began, with June likely to go down as the best month of his young career.

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“It’s just something that’s happened where I’m getting hits,” Duvall said when asked to if he could explain his recent surge.

“I’m taking the same approach and same swing into every at-bat,” he added. “I haven’t changed much this year. Sometimes it just happens that way, balls fall in here and there so you hit better in this month than you did last month. But who knows? It’s hard to put a finger on it.”

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Duvall entered Thursday with a .314 batting average, .365 on-base percentage, .593 slugging percentage and .958 OPS.

His previous best months saw him post a .289 average (May 2016), .343 on-base percentage (August 2016), .691 slugging percentage (May 2016) and 1.004 OPS (May 2016).

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One reason he’s been able to put up such solid numbers is that he’s been able to avoid the little ones. Duvall hasn’t gone hitless in back-to-back games since April 19-20.

“That’s something as a baseball player that you try to do, try to stay even keel as much as you can,” he said. “I guess I’ve done a good job with that.”

Last year in his first full season in the majors, Duvall had gone hitless in back-to-back games nine times by the end of June. This year it’s happened just three times, all in the first three weeks of April.

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With 18 home runs and 54 RBIs, Duvall is on pace to match his impressive power numbers in 2016, when he hit 33 homers and drove in 103 runs while earning an invitation to the participate in the Home Run Derby.

This year’s field should be announced sometime next week, but Duvall said he isn’t counting on getting a chance to build on his performance last year in San Diego, when he beat Padres first baseman Wil Myers in the first round before falling to defending champion, and former teammate, Todd Frazier in the semifinals.

“I doubt they’ll ask me just because there’s a lot of guys that have got 20-plus home runs,” Duvall said. But if they ask me, yeah I would definitely entertain the idea. My forearms and hands were pretty sore for a few days after that, but I don’t think it anything that messed with my swing. I’d love to do it again.”

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