McCoy: Reds offense erupts in win over Pirates

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

What is it they say after a wild party, “A good time was had by all?”

The Cincinnati Reds staged a wild baseball party Monday night in Great American Ball Park, an 11-5 annihilation of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

What went good for the Reds? What didn’t?

For starters, the Reds placed T.J. Friedl on the injured list before the game, the third time this season.

So manager David Bell moved second baseman Jonathan India from the bottom of the order to leadoff. He responded with three hits —a single, two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI.

Elly De La Cruz, bating behind India, contributed three hits — a single, a double, a home run — three runs scored and three RBI. The home run cleared the batter’s eye in center field and crash landed on the paddle wheel steamboat, 439 feet from home plate. It looked a lot farther.

De La Cruz owns six multi-hit games in the last 10 games and before the game India challenged him during batting practice

“Absolutely I thought I could hit one up there. India and I were talking during practice and he said nobody could hit the ball up there,” said De La Cruz during his post-game interview with Bally Sports Ohio. “Yeah, I do it. Why not?”

Has he ever hit one up there? “Batting practice up there? Maybe once. Maybe last year,” he said.

Spencer Steer produced a double, a single, three RBI and a run scored.

Stuart Fairchild had a double that produced two RBI and he also scored a run.

And there were two, not one, but two heart-warming events.

Starting pitcher Carson Spiers won his first major league game. He pitched six innings and gave up three runs, seven hits, walked one and struck out five.

And then there was 28-year-old rookie Levi Jordan, making his major league debut. He spent six frustrating and fretful years in the Chicago Cubs minor league system without a sniff of a call-up.

He nearly quit after last season, nearly accepted the head baseball coaching job at his alma mater at the University of Washington.

But when the Reds drafted him last winter in the Rule 5 minor-league draft, he decided, “One more try.”

He was hitting .301 at Class AAA Louisville when the Reds called him up to replace Friedl. He is an infielder by trade, shortstop and second base. But manager David Bell placed him in right field Monday, the first time he had ever played the position at any level.

He was robbed of a hit his first time, he hit a sacrifice fly for his first MLB RBI his second time, then he bashed one off the right field wall his third time, a double for his first MLB hit.

Coming in, the Reds had lost eight of 12 and scored only 12 runs in those eight losses. On Monday, they scored 11 on 12 hits.

And it came against a Pittsburgh team that has treated them like second cousins. The Pirates had beaten the Reds 21 times in the last 30 games.

The game began as if it might be another 1-0 game like the one last week in Pittsburgh when Bryan Reynolds homered for the game’s only run.

Both starting pitchers, Cincinnati’s Spiers and Pittsburgh’s Bailey Falter started perfecty.

Spiers retired the first six and Pittsburgh starter Falter was even better. He retired the first nine Reds.

The Pirates broke through first when they nudged two infield hits. His initials are B.R., and he hits the Reds like Babe Ruth. But his name is Bryan Reynolds and he singled home a run to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

Then in the bottom of the fourth it was if somebody stuck a pin into the posteriors of all the Reds’ hitters. They scored five runs.

One might say that Pirates starter Falter faltered.

It began with singles by India and De La Cruz. After Candelario grounded out, Steer doubled both home. Tyler Stephenson beat an infield single and Fairchild doubled for two more runs. Santiago Espinal walked and Jordan lofted his sacrifice fly and it was 5-1.

Pittsburgh immediately scrambled back into it with two runs in the fifth, but the Reds retrieved those two in the bottom of the fifth on back-to-back doubles by India and De La Cruz and Steer’s single to make it 7-3.

A four-run eruption in the sixth put this one to bed with a quilt on it. Luke Maile contributed a run-scoring single, India punched another double for a run and De La Cruz put a quadruple exclamation point on proceedings with his gargantuan home run to push the advantage to 11-3.

Asked what facet of his game he is most proudest, De La Cruz said, “Yes, I’m very proud. I keep working to get better. I’m proudest of my patience and being able to play every day. Be patient. Be patient.

“When I go 0 for 4, when I come the next day it is with the same energy,” he added. “Every day is a new day.”

And it was one big, big day for the Reds and De La Cruz.

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