Naquin, Barnhart lead Reds to 14-1 rout of Pirates
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tyler Naquin homered and drove in four runs, Tucker Barnhart keyed a six-run fourth inning with a two-run double and the Cincinnati Reds rolled to a 14-1 victory over the skidding Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Naquin’s three-run shot bounced off the right-field foul pole and made it 11-1 in the seventh. He also doubled home a run in the fourth.
“It’s been a lot of fun to be able to come over here and do my thing,” Naquin said.
The outfielder has been an unexpected bright spot for the Reds after being signed to a minor league contract in the offseason. A first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians, he’s hitting .278 with eight homers in 28 games.
“It’s fun to see a talented player get an opportunity and then do what he’s doing with it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He had a great night, but he’s been swinging the bat consistently well all year. He’s a really good all-around player. He’s a good defensive player. He runs well. He does a lot of things to help us win.”
Barnhart’s double to left-center was the big blow in the fourth as the Reds snapped a 1-all tie. Nick Senzel capped the inning with a two-run single.
After abandoning switch-hitting this season to bat strictly from the left side, Barnhart has a .307 average.
“It’s really taken a load off me because it’s easier to maintain one swing than two,” he said.
Eugenio Suarez broke an 0-for-15 slump with a solo homer for Cincinnati in the second. Nick Castellanos capped the scoring in the eighth with a two-run double.
Tyler Mahle (2-1) allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings for the win. He gave up four hits, walked four and struck out seven as Cincinnati (16-16) won for the third time in four games to reach .500.
“I think the key that set the tone for us was Tyer Mahle,” Bell said. “I thought he got better as he went, actually.”
Mahle left his previous three starts with a lead but the bullpen blew saves each time.
Mitch Keller (2-4) was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. He had two walks and two strikeouts after pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings to win at San Diego in his previous outing. Keller’s ERA is 7.81 after seven starts.
“He did not locate his pitches in the fourth inning by any stretch of the imagination,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I don’t have a good explanation except that he was just missing spots. In the big leagues when you don’t locate and leave balls in the middle of the plate, they are going to get hammered, especially by that lineup.”
Pittsburgh (14-20) has dropped nine of 11 since moving one game over .500. The Pirates have also lost eight straight to Cincinnati.
Six players each had two of the Reds’ 15 hits.
Jacob Stallings hit a solo homer for the Pirates in the second. Adam Frazier extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two hits.
AWAY GOES FRAZIER
The Pirates designated infielder Todd Frazier for assignment to clear a roster spot for outfielder Ben Gamel, who was claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Sunday.
Frazier, a two-time All-Star, hit just .086 in 13 games. The 35-year-old had three hits in 35 at-bats with no home runs and four RBIs.
“It’s unfortunate because Todd was great here,” Shelton said. “He was great in spring training with our group. He was great when he came back up, was with us as a taxi (squad) member and then got activated.”
Reds left-hander Wade Miley said his cell phone has rarely stopped ringing since he threw a no-hitter last Friday in Cleveland.
“It’s hard to keep the battery charged right this moment,” Miley said. “It’s starting to fade a little bit.”
Miley will try to join Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitchers in major league history to throw consecutive no-hitters Thursday night when he starts at Colorado. Vander Meer, also a Reds lefty, pulled off the feat in 1938.
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco should return from the COVID-19 list in the “next few days,” according to Shelton. Polanco violated MLB’s health and safety protocols last week. … CF Bryan Reynolds was back in the lineup after missing two games with lower-body soreness and went 2 for 2 with a triple and two walks.
Reds RHP Jeff Hoffman (2-2, 4.39 ERA) will face RHP JT Brubaker (2-2, 2.78) on Tuesday night. Hoffman has lost both his career starts against Pittsburgh, giving up nine runs in eight innings. Brubaker has lost his last two decisions after winning his first two.
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