Home Run Derby breaks out early in GAPB

By HAL McCOY

CINCINNATI — They scheduled a baseball game at Great American International Airport for Tuesday night and it turned into a rehearsal for the All-Star game’s Home Run Derby.

Baseball’s were flying out of GABP like house flies fleeing aerosol cans during a seven-homer game won by the Cincinnati Reds, 8-6, over the Milwaukee Brewers.

And it wasn’t even a hot night. But the obviously tightly stitched baseballs kept disappearing over yonder walls.

THE REDS HIT FOUR OFF Brewers starter Junior Guerra and the Brewers hit three off Reds starter Tim Adleman. By giving up four, Guerra joined a not-so-exclusive club. He is the 22nd major league pitcher this year to give up four home runs in a game. Nobody has given up five, but Guerra escaped because he was removed from the game in the middle of the fifth inning.

It was also the 22nd time seven home runs have been hit in a game in GABP and the record is 10, set in April of 2014 when Pittsburgh hit six and the Reds hit four.

ON THIS NIGHT THE Reds home runs were hit by Billy Hamilton, leading off the bottom of the first, Adam Duval (also in the first), Eugenio Suarez in the third and Joey Votto in the fifth.

Votto’s broke a 5-5 tie to give the Reds an 8-5 lead after they squandered a 4-0 lead in the first.

The Brewers came back from that 4-0 deficit with home runs by Manny Pina and Orland Arcia, both in the second inning, and a three-run rip by Travis Shaw in the third that gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead.

Suarez’s home run in the third tied it, 5-5, setting the picnic table for Votto’s game-deciding blow.

“The Suarez home run went to right center (opposite field), which was nice to see,” said Price.

Shaw, a native of Washington Court House, is a son to former Reds closer Jeff Shaw, who stood behind the third base dugout and applauded his son’s home run.

“I think we hit 15 or 16 balls right on the screws tonight,” said manager Bryan Price. “We were really good on offense, I thought (10 hits). There were some big blows with the home runs, but also some real quality at bats, a lot of barrel on ball.

“Billy Hamilton set the tone with that leadoff home run (only his second career leadoff home run and first since 2014), but he also smoked a base hit in his next at bat. And Scooter Gennett had some good at bats, too (a hit, a walk and two runs scored).”

HITTING, THOUGH, ISN’T usually a major puncture wound for the Reds. It is the starting pitcher and Adleman gave up five runs and five hits in the first three innings.

Then came two scoreless. And it earned him a victory to push his record to 5-and-4.

“After giving up five in the first three innings, he ends up giving us two scoreless,” said Price. “That gave us a chance to have that big game-breaking three-run inning in the fifth.”

The home run hitting and scoring was finished at the end of the fifth inning, except for one run scored by the Brewers in the sixth against Michael Lorenzen.

AND THE GAME ENDED with a close call. Ryan Braun, just off the disabled list, cranked one into the right field corner that Scott Schebler snagged against the wall at full sprint to end the game.

“Schebler running into the corner and making that game-ending catch saved us from having to face Travis Shaw, who is a terrific hitter having a great year, as the potential tying runner,” said Price.

The big blow, though, was Votto’s 21st home run, another big game from a guy having a big year who may not go to the All-Star game. He is far down in the first base voting.

Price, though, believes he belongs on the All-Star roster.

“I do believe he belongs,” he said. “I voted for him and I’m not a guy who just votes for his own players. I don’t do that, I’m not that guy. I vote for whom I think is the best.

“But we’re blessed here in that we get to see him every day,” Price added. “There are so many parts of his game that is so good — the 17 doubles and 21 home runs. More walks than strikeouts. His defense. There are just so many parts of his game that is All-Star caliber.”

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