Reds falling fast in standings, but home runs keep coming

A fan yelled from the stands at Great American Ball Park on Sunday to a Cincinnati Reds batter, providing motivation and a weather report at the same time.

“The wind’s blowing out!” he shouted.

»PHOTOS: Reds vs. Rockies

A slight breeze may have played a part in the Reds and Colorado Rockies combining to hit six home runs, but the number of home runs has risen across baseball in recent seasons. There were 5,610 hit last season, the second most in a single season, trailing only 2000 (5,693).

Through Saturday, the Reds ranked 11th in baseball in home runs. With home runs by Joey Votto and Scott Schebler on Sunday in a 6-4 loss, they have 56. Schebler and Votto each have 12. Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall have nine each.

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“I don’t know if it’s a league-wide thing, but the talk is about guys trying to lift the ball,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I don’t know how many guys we have on our team who changed their swings to try to lift the ball, but it’s a popular discussion about trajectory of the baseball. The power is great. It’s not just the homers. The extra bases have been tremendous.”

Cozart rests: Shortstop Zack Cozart didn't start Sunday. He entered the clubhouse at Great American Ball Park in the morning with a black brace on his left wrist.

The lingering wrist pain he has experienced since early April isn’t the reason he sat out the game. He missed two games May 13-14 in San Francisco because of wrist soreness but had started the last five games. He was 9-for-21 (.429) in those games.

Cozart is in the midst of a career year. A .252 career hitter, he’s hitting .351 in 36 games.

“I want to play every day,” Cozart said. “I hate not being out there for the team. There’s just some days where it doesn’t feel good. Today’s not one of those days. Today was already a scheduled off day. I talked to Bryan a couple days ago about it. We want to win the series today. I wish I was out there, but there’s nothing major in there, which is a positive.”

Cozart doesn’t know what he did to hurt the wrist. Exams haven’t shown an injury. It’s a mystery but not one that concerns him.

“It’s nothing that important or that big of an injury,” Cozart said. “In baseball, there’s no time off. The best thing would probably be rest, but that’s not going to happen. I’ve got to play through it.”

Looking ahead: The Reds open a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Monday. The first two games take place at Great American Ball Park. The series moves to Cleveland on Wednesday.

The Indians swept four games in the Ohio Cup last season. It was the first four-game sweep in the history of the series, which began in 1997. The Indians won the series 5-1 in 2015.

Next game: Scott Feldman (2-4, 4.29 ERA) starts at 7:10 p.m. Monday against the Indians' Josh Tomlin (2-5, 6.86). Feldman had his shortest outing of the season in last starting, allowing five earned runs 2 2/3 innings Wednesday against the Cubs.

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