Votto hits 3 homers, Reds get 5 in all to beat Phillies 11-2


CINCINNATI (AP) — With another three-homer game, Joey Votto caught up to Johnny Bench in another way.

Votto hit that many in a game for the third time in his career — matching Bench as the only Reds players to do it — and Cincinnati piled up five total on Tuesday night in an 11-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Hall of Fame catcher was the National League’s MVP twice. The current first baseman won the award in 2010, giving them that much in common.

And now, they’re known for homers, too.

“Today was wild,” Votto said. “It was one of those rare games. I read on the board that I tied Johnny Bench. He’s such a historic Red. To do something like that is quite special.”

How he did it was quite shocking.

Votto hit two of the Reds’ four homers off Aaron Harang (4-7), who had given up a total of four all season. After walking in his first plate appearance, Votto connected on a couple of pitches that Harang thought were pretty good.

“The first pitch was a change-up down and away,” Harang said. “The second one was a sinker down and away. That second one was more ridiculous than the first — below the knees and he hit it well.”

Votto added a two-run homer in the seventh inning off Dustin McGowan, then grounded out in the eighth, finishing one shy of the major league record.

“I just happened to get lucky on three pitches,” said Votto, who has hit nine of his 13 homers at Great American Ball Park. “A few of them were out of the (strike) zone, that’s not typical. You’re going to fail a lot if you swing at balls out of the zone.”

It was an all-or-nothing night for the Reds, who matched their season high for homers while pulling away to their most lopsided win. Four of their first five hits off Harang cleared the wall — Zack Cozart hit a three-run shot in the first inning, and Todd Frazier had a solo homer.

It was the fourth time in his career that Harang allowed four homers in a game. He hadn’t done it since 2007, when he pitched for the Reds.

The Phillies lost their sixth in a row on the road, their longest slump since they dropped 11 straight in 2013. Philadelphia has the majors’ worst road record at 7-22. The Phillies have lost 12 of their last 15 games overall.

Anthony DeSclafani (5-4) matched his career high by fanning seven batters and gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings to a lineup that struggles away from Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies average 3.03 runs per game on the road, the fewest in the majors.

Harang had some of his best years in Cincinnati, where he pitched from 2003-10. He’s struggled in his last two starts, both of them against the Reds. He’s lost four consecutive starts for the first time since 2009, when he dropped five in a row.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: If right-hander Chad Billingsley has no problems after his bullpen session Tuesday, he’ll throw again in a couple of days and then start a rehab assignment. He’s been on the disabled list with a strained shoulder since May 17.

Reds: Center fielder Billy Hamilton was out of the lineup with a sore left hand. Second baseman Brandon Phillips strained his groin while sliding into third base in the first inning and left the game an inning later.

YOU’RE GONE

Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce was ejected by plate umpire Adam Hamari in the third inning for arguing a called third strike.

STREAKS

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was hitless in four at-bats, leaving him in an 0-for-18 slump. Third baseman Maikel Franco extended his hitting streak to eight games (15 for 32).

HARANG A HIT

Harang singled in his first two at-bats, matching his season total. He had been 2 for 22 with a single and a double.

UP NEXT

Phillies: Jerome Williams (3-5) tries for his first win since May 16. He’s 0-2 with a pair of no-decisions since.

Reds: Jon Moscot (0-1) makes his second start in the majors. He took a 6-2 loss to San Diego in his debut on Friday, allowing four runs in five innings.

———-

Reds 6,

Phillies 4

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ivan De Jesus Jr. has his first commemorative ball from a big league hit, one that ended an incredible streak.

De Jesus hit the first homer of his big league career, and the Cincinnati Reds finally beat Cole Hamels with the help of a couple of Phillies misplays that set up a 6-4 victory over Philadelphia on Monday night.

De Jesus hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning off Hamels (5-5), who was unbeaten in 14 career starts against Cincinnati, including the playoffs. The 28-year-old utility player was called up from Triple-A last week when left fielder Marlon Byrd broke a wrist.

“It’s really special — the first one of my career and the first one this year,” De Jesus said. “I was glad to get the ball. I didn’t get the one from my first hit. They said they lost it. It was 2011 and they’re still looking for it.”

Mike Leake (3-4) got his first win since May 6. He gave up three runs and 10 hits in six innings, including three hits by Maikel Franco. Aroldis Chapman walked two and let in a run on a wild pitch while getting his 11th save in 12 chances.

Heading into the game, Hamels was 10-0 with 1.45 ERA against the Reds, including a shutout during the 2010 playoffs. The Phillies had won all 14 games.

The streak ended as the left-hander gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. Two misplays helped the Reds get their breakthrough.

“It’s major league baseball — you’re not going to have the best luck all the time,” Hamels said. “No matter what the circumstances, you’ve got to try to get through it.”

Billy Hamilton singled in the second inning and stole second and third with two outs and Brandon Phillips at bat. Catcher Carlos Ruiz thought Phillips struck out on a full-count pitch in the dirt, and he threw to first to complete the out.

Instead, it was ball four, and Hamilton scored easily on the throw.

“That was terrific,” manager Bryan Price said. “It’s a tough play for Ruiz. It was a good play by Brandon, forcing Ruiz to make a decision, and Billy made a heads-up play.”

Left fielder Cody Asche misplayed Zack Cozart’s line drive into an RBI double in the third for a 3-1 lead, the first time the Reds had scored that many runs off the left-hander. It also ended Hamels’ streak overall of six straight starts without allowing more than two runs while going at least seven innings.

De Jesus homered in his 77th big league at-bat. Cozart added a solo homer in the eighth.

Ryan Howard’s RBI double in the first inning ended a streak of 18 consecutive innings that the Phillies failed to score with Hamels on the mound. Ruiz’s two-run single tied it 3-3 in the fourth.

———

Reds 4,

Padres 0

CINCINNATI (AP) — Jay Bruce gave Johnny Cueto plenty of support this time.

Bruce homered twice to drive in all four runs and Cueto, who missed two starts with a tight elbow, earned his first win in almost a month as the Cincinnati Reds beat the San Diego Padres 4-0 Sunday.

“I’m happy for him and the team to see Johnny back in form,” Bruce said. “Johnny played the stopper and the true ace. It felt good to get him the runs he needed.”

Cueto had been the victim of three blown saves this season. The Reds’ bullpen blew four-run leads in three of the last five games, all three resulting in losses.

Cueto (4-4) gave up four hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking two. It was his first win since May 9.

“If he hadn’t come off the elbow injury, I wouldn’t have considered taking Johnny out of the game,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We have increased his pitch count incrementally the last two starts. There will be no restrictions on him his next start.”

Cueto didn’t lobby to stay in the game.

“We needed this for the team,” he said. “My goal was to stop what happened the last few days and my teammates backed me up. Coming off the injury, he had to be conservative.”

The right-hander made his second start since missing two outings. Last year, he became the Reds’ first 20-game winner since 1988.

Relievers J.J. Hoover and Aroldis Chapman combined to retire the last 15 batters, helping the Reds avoid a sweep.

Cincinnati retooled its bullpen before the game. The Reds sent Jumbo Diaz to Triple A Louisville and selected the contract of Nate Adcock before the game.

Odrisamer Despaigne (3-4) lasted six innings. The Padres had won six straight over the Reds since May 2014

San Diego was shut out for the 10th time this season.

Bruce led off the second with his eighth homer of the season and first in 17 games.

The Reds needed only four pitches to open up a 4-0 lead in the sixth. Joey Votto singled and went to third on Todd Frazier’s double into the right-field corner on Despaigne’s next pitch.

One strike later, Bruce lofted a 343-foot fly ball that bounced off the roof over the visitors’ bullpen down the right-field line for his first multihomer game of the season and 16th of his career.

Even with the homers, Black was pleased with what he saw from Despaigne.

“He threw the ball fine,” Black said. “He was victimized by a big-time power hitter who hit balls at the top of the zone or that might have been balls.”

———

Iglesias on DL

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds put starter Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique and called up right-hander Jon Moscot to make his major league debut Friday night against the San Diego Padres.

They also rearranged their bullpen with another move to give young players more of a chance in an already disappointing season.

The Reds designated 36-year-old Jason Marquis for assignment and called up right-hander Pedro Villarreal from Triple-A Louisville. Marquis opened the season in the rotation but was switched to the bullpen after nine starts with a 3-4 record and 6.46 ERA.

Marquis’ last start was May 25 against Colorado. He didn’t make an appearance out of the bullpen.

“We are kind of going with our youth movement,” manager Bryan Price said. “We’ll see what we have in our system and if they’re ready.”

The Reds were 23-29 heading into the weekend series, trailing St. Louis by 12 games in the NL Central.

Iglesias is part of their youth movement — Cincinnati has three rookies in the rotation — but felt soreness in his left side after his start last Saturday against Washington. Price said his side was still bothering him when he tried to throw again, prompting the move to the disabled list on Friday.

Iglesias is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances.

“It’s one of those things that can definitely get worse by pitching,” Price said. “So we decided to go the safe route.”

Price said that Moscot, the top pitching prospect at Louisville, will get several starts while Iglesias is sidelined.

———

Meroraco headed

to left field

CINCINNATI (AP) — Catcher Devin Mesoraco shagged flyballs in left field on Friday afternoon, trying to learn the intricacies a position he hasn’t played since high school.

If all goes well, he’ll be out there for the Cincinnati Reds in a couple of weeks.

Mesoraco went on the disabled list last month with a sore left hip that bothers him when he crouches but isn’t a problem when he hits or runs. He’s putting off surgery for now, hoping he can help a lineup that’s missing its left fielder indefinitely. Marlon Byrd suffered a broken right wrist when he was hit by a pitch on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

Mesoraco will practice taking flyballs from coach Billy Hatcher for a few days, then go to the minors and play left field and see how it works out.

“Once Marlon went down, I figured it would be good to see if this is something we could do,” Mesoraco said. “I need to go out there and play a little bit. When they deem me ready, put me out there and say, ‘Go get ‘em.’”

Mesoraco’s hip has bothered him all season, relegating him mostly to pinch hitting and being a DH during interleague games. Doctors initially thought that the hip might heal if he stayed away from catching, but it still bothers him when he crouches so he’ll have to have surgery. Mesoraco is batting .178 with no homers and two RBIs.

He had a breakout season last year, making the All-Star team for the first time. He joined Johnny Bench as the only players in Reds history to have at least 25 homers and 80 RBIs as a catcher. Mesoraco batted .273 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs.

Doctors have told him he can’t injure the hip by playing, so he is putting off surgery for now.

“It’s something you can’t do any more damage to,” Mesoraco said. “The recovery from surgery is four to six months, so that’s not going to come into play.”

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