The Reds mustered a grand total of eight hits against San Diego on Monday, but they squeezed all they could out of each and every one of them.
Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Zack Cozart each hit two-run home runs before Patrick Kivlehan added his first career grand-slam in the eighth, lifting Cincinnati to an 11-3 win over the Padres in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds reached double figures in runs for the first time since Scooter Gennett hit four home runs in a 13-1 win over St. Louis on June 6.
“Four home runs, all multiple runs – it played big,” manager Bryan Price said. “It showcases what we’re capable of doing. I do know we have the ability to score runs at a large clip, and except for Cozart and Votto, we’re doing it with players of limited experience, so you hope they’ll get even better.”
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The game matched teams that had lost three of their last four games.
Billy Hamilton led off the first with a triple into the right field corner and scored on Votto’s single for a 1-0 lead. That left the speed-to-burn Reds center fielder with 28 first-inning runs, the most in the major leagues. He also went into Monday’s game leading the majors with 21 first-inning stolen bases and he is batting .340 (32-for-94) in the first.
Votto extended his hitting streak to a season-high 12 games before widening the lead to 3-0 in the third, following Zack Cozart’s one-out infield single with an opposite-field homer into the left-center field seats – giving him one home run in three consecutive games.
Votto’s homer was his 30th of the season, one more than he hit all of last season, as well as the 136th of his career at Great American Ball Park, snapping a tie with Jay Bruce for first in that category. Votto also moved into a tie with Ted Kluszewski for fifth place on the franchise career home run list. They have 251. Adam Dunn ranks fourth with 270.
“It does mean something,” Votto said about tying Kluszewski, who has a statue on Crosley Terrace outside the main gate.
Tim Adleman, reprieved from being sentenced to the bullpen by the injury to Robert Stephenson’s right shoulder, sailed through the San Diego lineup the first time around, retiring all nine with two strikeouts. The right-hander’s second trip through wasn’t as smooth. Much like Homer Bailey’s second-inning meltdown on Sunday, the Padres greeted Adleman with two doubles and Jose Pirela’s mammoth, two-run homer off the upper-deck façade in left field.
The damage wasn’t greater because Jesse Winker tracked down Manuel Margot’s leadoff double and fired the ball to second baseman Scooter Gennett, whose textbook relay to third baseman Eugenio Suarez was in time to catch Margot trying to stretch the double into a triple.
The outfield assist was Cincinnati’s 27th of the season. The Reds went into the game one behind Cleveland and the White Sox for the major league lead in team outfield assists.
Adleman wriggled off the hook in that inning, but was unable to qualify for a win after Price lifted him with two outs, two runners on and Pirela due to bat. Blake Wood (1-4) came on and got Pirela to ground out.
Michael Lorenzen pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, snapping at five his streak of consecutive appearances in which he allowed at least one run.
Duvall logged his 25th homer of the season and fifth in his last 14 games, a shot into the netting above the Cincinnati bullpen in left-center field in the sixth.
The Reds pinned five earned runs on San Diego starter Jhoulys Chacin (11-8), who hadn’t given more than three in 12 starts since allowing seven on May 23.
Cozart followed an inning later with a drive into the left field seats, his fourth in his last nine games and 13th of the season.
Pirela added his second homer of the game off of left-hander Wandy Peralta in the eighth before Kivlehan, who entered the game in a seventh-inning double switch, broke the game open with his seventh homer of the season.
“It’s one of those jobs where you can’t get too down or too high,” he said about coming off the bench. “I just try to take each at bat as it is what it is.”
“I think he’s got the opportunity to be the next Adam Duvall-type of player,” Price said. “He can get a significant amount of extra-base hits and play plus defense. I think, with the right opportunity, he could be a good everyday player.”