By Hal McCoy
The Cincinnati Reds, the Rampaging Reds, extended their winning streak to 10 in a row Tuesday night in Great American Ball Park.
The forlorn Colorado Rockies, ravaged by injuries, had little chance against the red-hot Reds and were victimized, 8-6.
It was another Elly De La Cruz extravaganza, with home run support from T.J. Friedl and Will Benson. And Friedl added three singles for a four-hit night.
De La Cruz homered, beat another infield single and doubled. On his infield hit back to the mound in the fifth. Pitcher Peter Lambert scrambled after it and threw the ball away as De La Cruz scampered to second.
Lambert tried to pick De La Cruz off the second and threw the ball into center field, moving De La Cruz to third. He scored on Jake Fraley’s double.
Lambert, who hadn’t learned his lesson, tried to pick off Fraley and again threw the ball into center field and Fraley scored.
That’s three errors in one inning by Lambert and says it all about the Rockies.
How good are the first place Reds. In addition to the 10-game winning streak, matching a streak put together by the 2012 Reds, the current Reds have won 12 of 14 and 17 of 23.
And they’ve done something no other team has done. Ten games ago they were 29-35 and five games out of first place. No other team has gone from five games behind to first place in 10 games.
How bad are the Rockies? They’ve lost seven straight, 9 of 10 and 17 of 21. During those 21 games, Colorado’s starting pitchers are 0-12.
For the second straight night, the Reds plugged in the power. They hit three home runs in a 5-4 win Monday and added three more Tuesday.
Reds starter Ben Lively gave up a first-inning home run to Nolan Jones for a 1-0 Rockies lead. So when the Reds came back, it was Colorado’s 20th blown lead and Cincinnati’s 24th come from behind win.
The comeback began in the Reds second. Rockies starter Noah Davis retired the first two. Then he walked the number eight and number nine batters, Will Benson and Curt Casali, both on fulll counts. Friedl unloaded a three-run homer and it was 3-1.
De La Cruz picked on the first pitch he saw in the third and went the opposite way, clearing the left field wall for his second major league home run.
Benson’s also hit his second major league home rkun when he connected leading off the fifth.
Reds starter Ben Lively was an escape artist during his four innings of two-run, three-hit, four-walk outing.
The Rockies stranded two runners in the third. With two outs, Lively walked two batters, but Lively struck out Elias Diaz..
Harold Castro homered in the fourth with two outs, then Lively walked two straight. But Jurickson Profar swung at the first pitch and flied out.
Alex Young, Fernando Cruz and Daniel Duarte each pitched a scoreless inning. But Casey Legumina gave up a three-run homer to Jorge Alfaro.
Legumina was recalled from Class AAA Louisville prior to the game. Wil Myers came off the injured list and the Reds designated him for assignment.
The home run cut the Reds lead tr 8-5, forcing manager David Bell to bring in closer Alexis Diaz for the ninth.
And it wasn’t pretty. He struck out the first hitter, but Profar singled and scored on a Nolan Jones double, his fourth hit and second double.
Diaz then walked Ryan McMahon to bring the potential lead run to the plate in Elias Diaz. No problem. He struck out Diaz.
That brought up ex-Red Mike Moustakas. When he played for the Reds, the fans chanted, “Moose, Moose, Moose,” when he stepped into the batter’s box. During this series it was, “Boo, Boo, Boo.”
The Reds released Moustakas and are still paying him most of his $14 million salary.. After getting him 0-and-2, Diaz walked him to fill the bases.
That brought up Alfaro, who had hit the three-run homer the previous inning against Legumina. Diaz strkuck him out, his 20th straight save this season and 25th overall.
It is evident in all facets of life, timing is everything. And the timing has been perfect for the Reds and they’ve taken overwhelming advantage of it.
During their three-game sweep of Houston, the Astros were without two of their best hitters, Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley. And the Reds missed their three best pitchers, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Hunter Brown.
It was even worse for the Rockies, who were more like tha Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes than a major league team. They are missing three of their best hitters, Charlie Blackmon, Kris Bryant and C.J. Cron. And their best pitcher, Kyle Freeland, was scheduled to pitch Tuesday but was ill before the game and was scratched.
In his place, the Rockies sent Noah Davis to the mound. As a Reds prospect, he was pitching for the high class A Dayton Dragons just two seasons ago and was 3-6 with a 3.65 earned run average.
That, though, are problems for the opposition and the Reds are more than happy to take advantage.
And they have.