Scooter Gennett hasn’t played this season for the Cincinnati Reds but remains a presence in the clubhouse and delivered the line of the night Tuesday after an 11-6 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park.
Watching reporters gather around Derek Dietrich’s locker, Gennett joked, “Anybody can hit three home runs.”
Not many players can get away with that comment, but Gennett hit four home runs in a game two years ago, so he can poke fun at Dietrich’s career night. Dietrich hit three two-run home runs. He’s the 28th player in franchise history to hit at least three home runs in a game and the first since Gennett.
Dietrich heard Gennett’s comment and joked about Gennett turning off the lights if he came to bat again with a chance at No. 4. He didn’t get that chance, but still enjoyed another memorable night in a season full of them. He came out for a curtain call in the seventh inning after his third home run.
“That’s what baseball’s all about,” Dietrich said. “It doesn’t matter how many fans are in the seats.”
Dietrich overshadowed the performance by Reds starter Lucas Sims, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville and threw seven scoreless innings before giving up a grand slam with one out in the eighth. The Reds (26-29) moved within three games of .500 for the first time since they were 11-14 on April 26. They also ended a 10-game run in which they alternated wins and losses.
“I was as thrilled for Lucas Sims as I was for myself,” Dietrich said. “To come up and throw like that, he had it all going until the very end there and ran out of gas a little bit. It was fun to play behind him, and I’m just glad I had a chance to help him win the ballgame.”
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Dietrich leads the Reds with 17 home runs. That’s a career best. He hit 16 home runs last season with the Miami Marlins. He also tied a career high with six RBIs. He ranks second on the team with 35 RBIs.
Dietrich continues to compile big numbers with a unique style. He wears a gold chain around his neck, and it’s never more flashy than when it’s bouncing as he rounds the bases after a home run. He was asked how important it was to have it hanging out of his jersey when he bats.
“I usually don’t take it out,” Dietrich said. “If it’s out, I leave it out. I just let it be sometimes. Like all my outfits, I usually don’t try to plan them. I just let them happen as they will. I was doing a few interviews on the field, and these kids were looking at me in the eyes, and they’re like, ‘We’re looking at your chain. Can we hold it?’ I’m like, ‘You might run up the stairs with it.’ I was just teasing them. (ESPN’s) Scott Van Pelt wanted to know how much it cost, and I’m like I can’t tell you.”
Dietrich said he has worn a chain since he played in high school.
“It was a lot smaller and a lot cheaper,” he said. “Now it’s evolved.”
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