By HAL McCOY
Major League Baseball scheduled a four-game baseball series in Denver this week and four softball games broke out.
It was like those big guys who travel the country and put on hitting displays with softballs before major league games, launching juiced-up softballs deep into the upper decks.
It was the Cincinnati Curley’s Tavern Reds against the Colorado Bill’s Used Cars Rockies the last four days.
THE REDS FINISHED THE series Thursday night with an 11-4 win to take three of the four games, their first series win on the road this season and their first series win since they took two of three from the Rockies in mid-April in Great American Ball Park.
During the series the Reds hit 12 home runs and on Thursday they had their extra-base-hit spikes tighten on in double knots.
In the first four innings against Rockies starter Eddie Butler they had 11 hits, seven for extra bases (four doubles, two home runs and a triple).
For the night they hit four homers — two by Eugenio Suarez, who drove in four runs and one each by Zack Cozart and Adam Duvall, who connected for his 14th. Suarez’s first home run of the game was a three-run blast in the fifth that turned a 6-2 lead into a 9-2 advantage.
For the four games the Reds scored 33 runs on 46 hits and the Rockies scored 31 runs (17 in one game) on 42 hits.
AND THE REDS RECEIVED another good start from an unexpected source, just as they did Wednesday night from John Lamb (one run, six hits in seven innings). Alfredo Simon, 1-and-5 with a 9.60 earned run average when the night began, gave up four runs on five hits over seven innings.
The four runs he gave up all came on home runs, harmless back-to-back homers in the fourth by Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado, who leads the majors with 17. The other two came on a two-run home run by Trevor Story in the seventh.
The Gonzalez-Arenado combination cut Cincinnati’s lead to 4-2, but the Reds put six on the board in the fifth to put it away. Amazingly enough, it was the 11th time this season the Reds had scored five or more runs in an inning, most in the majors.
THE SIX-RUN INNING BEGAN with a walk to Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips singled and Jay Bruce doubled to make it 5-2. Adam Duvall singled to push it to 6-2 and Suarez homered to push it to 9-2, Billy Hamilton beat an infield hit, stole second and scored on an error by shortstop Trevor Story.
Zack Cozart had two hits and drove in two and is hitting .306. A resurgent Joey Votto had two hits and a walk as his average continues to creep upward, now at .222.
Jay Bruce had a triple and a double to drive in two and Eugenio Suarez had his first two home runs game and three hits, driving in four and scoring three.
So after traveling more than 6,700 miles on a three-city 10-game trip, the Reds return home with a 4-6 record (0-3 in Los Angeles, 1-2 in Milwaukee, 3-1 in Denver.
They open a three-game series Friday night against the Washington Nationals, a homecoming for former Reds manager Dusty Baker, now managing the National League East’s first-place team.