If anybody doubted that Scott Schebler had put behind him the shoulder problems that hampered his batting stroke for weeks after the All-Star break, he erased them with one swing of the bat on Tuesday night.
Cincinnati’s right fielder capped a fivc-run first inning rally with his first career grand slam and tied his single-game career high with five runs batted in as the Reds emphatically snapped their 14-game losing streak against the New York Mets with a 14-4 win.
“I hit a walkoff grand slam in (minor league) High A,” Schebler, who was 3-for-9 with eight RBIs with the bases loaded this season going into into the game, said of his last grand slam. “That’s the last one I remember. It doesn’t happen often, especially not to me. I’m not like Scooter (Gennett), who hits one every other at bat.”
Gennett has hit three grand slams this season.
Before a “Bark in the Park” night crowd of 12,946 – the third-smallest of the season at Great American Ball Park – the Reds beat New York for the first time since a 2-1 win on Sept. 6, 2014, in Cincinnati.
Adam Duvall added a three-run homer in Cincinnati’s seven-run eighth and Eugenio Suarez went 3-for-4. All of the Reds starting position players finished with at least one hit and five had two or more.
The Mets resorted to using catcher Kevin Plawecki to finish the 12-batter eighth. He is the first position player to pitch against the Reds since Pittsburgh’s Jaff Decker in a 15-5 Cincinnati win on July 30, 2015.
Sal Romano came up one inning short in his bid to become Cincinnati’s first starting pitcher this season to go at least seven innings, but the rookie right-hander still turned in a creditable performance as one of the platoon of young pitchers trying to gain an upper hand in the competition for 2018 rotation slots. Romano (4-5), who grew up on Long Island a few miles east of the Mets home field, allowed six hits and three runs with just two walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
“I think it was 14,” he said the losing streak to the Mets. “It was nice to get a win today and be a part of it.”
His earned-run average over his last three games is 2.70.
Schebler went into Tuesday’s game hitting .370 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs and six runs batted in over nine games – including seven starts – since coming off the disabled list on August 18. He’d been sidelined for 17 days with a left shoulder strain that had been a primary reason for his .177 batting average, three home runs and seven RBIs since the All-Star break. He hit .254 with 22 home runs and 44 RBIs before the break.
“He’s giving us good, consistent at bats,” manager Bryan Price said. “He’s got good power, but he’s squaring up the ball to right- and left-center field. It’s a good sign that he’s not just pulling it. It’s just good to see him back swinging the bat the way he is. He’s got an opportunity to be a real beast.”
Romano walked Jose Reyes to lead off the game. Reyes scored on Asdrubal Cabrera’s one-out double for a 1-0 Mets lead.
Zack Cozart started the Reds rally by beating out a one-out infield single to shortstop Amed Rosario. Joey Votto, who played his 1,400th game in a Reds uniform, breaking a tie with Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Edd Roush for 10th on the franchise career games played list, followed with a walk, his sixth in his last six plate appearances.
That’s the longest streak of consecutive walks since Colorado’s Brad Hawpe had six straight on June 22-23, 2008, according to Elias Sports Bureau as reported by the Reds.
Votto walked two more times in the game, giving him eight in his last nine plate appearances, and added an RBI single in the eighth.
Adam Duvall struck out, but Scooter Gennett walked to load the bases. Cozart scored on Suarez’s single to left field, giving the third baseman 20 RBIs in August.
Schebler followed by clubbing a 1-1 pitch into the right-center field seats for his 26th homer of the season. The grand-slam was Cincinnati’s sixth of the season, three short of the club record of nine, set in 2002, the year before moving into Great American Ball Park.
Scooter Gennett drove in one of Cincinnati’s two fifth-inning runs and scored the other. Zack Cozart scored from third on Gennett’s sharp grounder that glanced off Mets starting pitcher Chris Flexen (3-3). Gennett later scored on Schebler’s single to right.
Romano recorded 10 straight outs before the New York collected three consecutive two-out hits and scored two runs in the sixth.
“I have to tip my hat to the defense,” Romano said. “I was pitching to contact and they made a lot of plays.”