Reds rout Indians with 2 big innings

“How do you think you’re impacting this team so far?” Frazier asked.

Paul laughed as he realized his locker neighbor was asking the question.

“Having to deal with you every day, I might not even show up tomorrow,” Paul said.

“I’m just a broadcaster,” Frazier said.

“Thank you, Mr. Frazier,” Paul said. “You’re great.”

When things are going well — and things are going spectacularly well for the rolling Reds — these are the moments that stand out. Paul, a role player on Opening Day who has become a valuable contributor in left field with the injury to Ryan Ludwick, got most of the attention as the Reds improved to 18-5 since May 3, the best record in baseball during that span.

Only one of the great Reds teams of recent decades has done any better through 52 games than this group. Cincinnati (33-19) is 14 games over .500, the same record as the 1995 Reds. The 1975, 2010 and 2012 Reds were all eight games over at this point. The 1976 Reds were 13 over. The 1990 Reds were 15 over.

“As a team we’re feeling great,” Paul said. “We’re pitching really well. We’re hitting really well. And we’re winning. We’re starting to win on the road, which is very important. Overall, we’re just playing good baseball.”

The first-place Cardinals (34-17) are the only team in baseball with more wins than the Reds. They lead Cincinnati by 1½ games.

As long as the Reds keep playing like they did Tuesday, they don’t have a lot to worry about. Seven of the Reds’ starting position players had at least two hits. Six different players drove in runs. Four different Reds pitchers combined to strike out 11 batters, earning the fans free LaRosa’s pizzas.

The Reds scored three in the first, two scoring on Paul’s two-out single. They added four in the seventh and one in the eighth. The late runs made up for some missed opportunities to add to the lead early. The Reds left 12 men on base.

“I didn’t like the way that game was going,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It was similar to the game we had the other day against the Cubs where we had a lot of opportunities to score and didn’t score anymore. I’m just glad we added some runs in the late innings because it was getting a little hairy there with a 3-1 score.”

Reds starter Mat Latos improved to 5-0, giving up one run on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He lowered his ERA from 3.17 to 3.01.

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