Reds pound out homers galore to rout Braves

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 2021

By George Henry

  AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA —  Jesse Winker hit a grand slam in the second inning, the Reds added four more homers, and Cincinnati snapped a three-game skid with an 12-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.

Winker’s 24th homer, the second grand slam of his career, cleared the wall in right field to give the Reds a 4-1 lead after singles by Tyler Naquin and pitcher Vladimir Gutiérrez and a walk to Jonathan India.

“I was just looking for something up to drive,” Winker said. “Naquin gets the hit and then Gutie gets a hit right behind him and Jon works the great walk. Then he threw the first pitch for a ball, so I really just cut the zone in half. I was looking for something up just to drive. It got up and got out, so I was pumped about that.”

The loss dropped Atlanta, which had won three straight and eight of 10, one game behind first-place Philadelphia and into third place in the NL East. The New York Mets are in second place, a half-game ahead of the Braves, who began the day tied for first.

“With the three teams, that could be a daily occurrence, too, but that’s OK,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re right there. You know what I mean? We’re going to fight … to get back there.”

Cincinnati, which remained eight games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central, tacked on five runs in the third to make it 9-1. Tyler Stephenson scored from second on Eugenio Suárez’s double. Naquin hit his 14th homer, a three-run shot off Josh Tomlin, and India added his 14th homer.

Gutiérrez, who won his fourth straight start, walked two batters in the bottom of the first, and Jorge Soler scored from second on Dansby Swanson’s bloop single to make it 1-0. Gutiérrez stranded two runners in scoring position on Adam Duvall’s groundout.

Gutiérrez (8-3) gave up one run and five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings. Since losing 15-11 to the New York Mets on July 19, Gutiérrez has a 1.78 ERA over his last four starts.

Kyle Muller (2-4) allowed six runs, five hits with three walks and one strikeout in 2 1/3 innings. Snitker said Muller will be optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and that Huascar Ynoa would likely take his spot in the rotation.

Winker, who went 3 for 4, hit his 32nd double in the sixth off Tomlin, and Kyle Farmer followed with his 11th homer to make it 11-1. Winker began the day tied for the major league lead in doubles and extra-base hits.

“As good as our offense has been, we haven’t had too many games like this, so it’s nice,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “It’s kind of rewarding to get the home runs and the hits.”