By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Reds staffers surrounded Scooter Gennett at his locker, tucked away in a quiet corner of the clubhouse.
They took his uniform. They took his batting gloves. They took his cap. They took the tape from his wrists. They took his sweat shirt. They took his socks. They took his spikes.
Did they take his athletic supporter?
“Everything,” said clubhouse manager Rick Stowe. “The Hall of Fame wants everything.”
That’s because Scooter Gennett hit four home runs and drove in 10 runs Tuesday night in a 13-1 mangling of the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Not the bat,” Zack Cozart yelled at Gennett. “Dont let them take your bat. Don’t let ‘em do it.”
AFTER SINGLING HOME A run in the first inning, Gennett homered on his next four at bats and just missed becoming the first player in history to homer for the cycle. He had a grand slam, two two-run homer and a solo home run. He didn’t have a three-run homer.
But he did become only the 17th player in major league history to hit four home runs in a game.
Amazingly, manager Bryan Price witnessed two. As pitching coach in Seattle he saw former Reds outfielder Mike Cameron hit four.
“I’m a very impressive guy today,” said Price with a laugh.
The 10 RBI tied a 68-year-old team record. Catcher Walker Cooper drove in 10 against the Cubs on July 6, 1949.
GENNETT, PLAYING LEFT FIELD on a night Adam Duvall rested, did an admirable imitation of Duvall’s home run power.
Gennett’s run-scoring single in the first gave the Reds a 1-0 lead and that was a miniature harbinger of what was to come. The grand slam came in the third and gave the Reds a 5-0 lead.
His second home run followed a three-run triple by Eugenio Suarez in the fourth and gave the Reds a 10-0 lead. His third home run in the sixth gave the Reds an 11-1 lead.
When he came to bat in the eighth, he was given a standing ovation and the crowd chanted, “Do it again, do it again, do it again.”
And he did it again.
WHEN GENNETT COMES TO bat, his walk-up music is ‘Live Your Life,’ by Rihanna. Right now, he is living large. In only 116 at bats this season, Gennett has 30 runs batted in.
“It feels pretty cool and it certainly is something I never thought I’d do,” said Gennett. “Even three home runs is too crazy for me. That last at bat I knew I wouldn’t hit a home run if I tried. So I just relaxed and put a good swing on the ball.”
Gennett is not a regular. He is a fill-in. He was a regular with the Milwaukee Brewers but was released toward the end of spring training and signed by the Reds to be a role player. He is playing his role like an Academy Award winner.
THE REDS PICKED HIM up — a guy who grew up in the Cincinnati-Lebanon area, grew up as a Reds fan. And he did something Johnny Bench never did. Something George Foster never did. Something Tony Perez never did. Something Joe Morgan never did. Something Ken Griffey Jr. never did.
“It’s surreal,” he said. It surely is. I’m truly blessed. Being from here, being born here, watching all those guys play when I was little — then to do something that has never been done. I just can’t put words on it.”
He just put big swings on the baseball.
ASKED ABOUT BEING ONE of only 17, something more rare than a perfect game, Gennett, wearing his baseball cap backwards, Ken Griffey Jr. style, said, “It’s crazy, man. Especially a guy like me, not a huge guy. That’s baseball, man. It is not how big or strong you are. It’s how efficient and sometimes how lucky you are.”
Gennett is the ONLY player in major league history to have five hits, four home runs and 10 RBI in one game.
Gennett was 0 for 19 when he came to bat Monday in the seventh inning of a tie game. His double scored two runs, the winning runs in a 4-2 game. Counting that two-run double, Gennett is six-for-six with 12 RBI since the 0 for 19.
“Yeah, you guys weren’t all here by my locker when I was 0 for 19,” he said with a laugh. “Nice to see you guys again. And I have to give a shout out to my bat company, Show Bats. They are the best bats — for a little guy to hit the ball over the fence it takes a good bat.”
After the fourth homer cleared the right field wall on a 0-and-2 pitch (the grand slam and one other homer came on 3-and-2), Gennett said, “As I rounded first base, I kind of laughed, to be honest. It was just crazy for a guy like me to do it, a little short of a miracle.”
MANAGER BRYAN PRICE WAS nearly at a loss for words, talking about an extra player who he plugs in where needed — second base, right field, left field, pinch-hitter. And he is the emergency relief pitcher.
“It comes down to the right attitude because here’s a guy who is used to playing more than he plays here and he has accepted the role and he has thrived in it,” said Price. “Nobody would say he is a career bench player, a utility player. However, for our team, he fills a void for us and he is doing it sensationally.”
Price paused for effect and smiled and said, “How many teams have some guy you can just put into the lineup who can hit four homers? Apparently it is just the Reds.”
THE REDS SWAMPED St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright for nine runs on seven hits after in his previous start he shut out the Chicago Cubs, 2-0, and hit a two-run home run.
It was a totally wasted night for Wainwright. Not only did he give up nine runs, he didn’t hit any home runs. He struck out in his only at bat
The heavy-duty pitching this night was done by former independent league pitcher Tim Adleman of the Reds — seven innings, one run, three hits, two walks seven strikeouts. The one run was a seventh-inning home run by Stephen Piscotty when the score was 11-0.