CINCINNATI (AP) — Aristides Aquino keeps hitting historic home runs.
Cincinnati’s red-hot rookie had a three-run homer, Nick Senzel added a leadoff shot and the Reds dropped the St. Louis Cardinals back into a tie with Chicago for first place in the NL Central Division with a 6-1 victory on Saturday.
With the Reds leading 2-1 in the fifth, Aquino followed two-out singles by Josh VanMeter and Freddy Galvis with a no-doubt drive to center field on Miles Mikolas’ first pitch for his second homer in two nights, his 10th in his last 11 games and 11th in his 17th career games.
“I was ready for the fastball, but he hung a slider,” Aquino said through an interpreter. “I put a good swing on it.”
Aquino is the first rookie since 1900 with 11 homers in his first 17 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“I have a job to do, but watching Aquino, I’m like a fan,” manager David Bell said. “We know what he’s capable of doing, but it is fun to watch for me and the fans. He has an approach that he’s comfortable with. He’s locked in right now. That home run changed the complexion of the game.”
One day after being rocked for 18 hits and 13 runs, Cincinnati pitching limited St. Louis to Matt Carpenter’s second-inning solo homer, one of five hits and three walks allowed by Anthony DeSclafani in five innings. DeSclafani (8-7) struck out four.
DeSclafani’s seven career wins against St. Louis are three more than he has against any other team.
The Cardinals were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.
“You can’t pin everything on Miles,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “It was a group effort. We left 10 guys out there. We weren’t able to push anything across.”
The Cardinals loaded the bases against Lucas Sims with one out in the sixth, but he struck out pinch-hitter Paul DeJong and got Dexter Fowler to pop up.
Michael Lorenzen allowed one hit and had three strikeouts in two innings. He also had two hits. R.J. Alaniz finished up.
The Reds roughed up Mikolas (7-13) for seven hits and five runs with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings. He is 1-4 over his last six starts.
“I felt like I didn’t have my best stuff,” said Mikolas, 0-3 in four starts against Cincinnati this season. “I had trouble keeping the ball down. Then you make one mistake to one of their best hitters and that’s the ballgame.”
Senzel led off the bottom of the first with his third leadoff home run and 10th overall.
Phillip Ervin and Tucker Barnhart singled to lead off the fourth, setting up José Iglesias’ tiebreaking sacrifice fly.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
Fowler was thrown out at third base by center fielder Senzel trying to go from first to third on Marcell Ozuna’s two-out single in the fifth inning. Yairo Munoz was thrown out at second by Ervin trying to stretch his two-out single off the left-field wall into a double in the eighth.
With LHP Amir Garrett suspended and 1B Joey Votto (back), OF Jesse Winker (back) and 3B Eugenio Suárez (left thumb sprain) nursing injuries, the Reds went into Saturday’s game with 21 healthy players, including the four other pitchers in the starting rotation.
Trying to have as many fresh arms available as possible in a depleted bullpen, the Reds optioned RHP Matt Bowman to Triple-A Louisville and recalled RHP R.J. Alaniz, whose first appearance will be his Cincinnati debut.
The Reds wore replicas of the uniforms worn by the 1976 team, the 11th in a series of 15 throwback outfits the team is wearing to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of baseball’s first all-professional team. The Cardinals wore for the 10th time this season the road alternate “victory” blue uniforms the team wore in the 1980s. St. Louis is 1-9 in those uniforms.
Mikolas set a club record with his 40th consecutive start with no more than two walks. He’d been tied at 39 with Curt Davis in 1938 and 1939.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (left hamstring strain) allowed three runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts while throwing 37 pitches in 1 1/3 innings in the first appearance of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Friday.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (6-6) has allowed 10 hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts in 11 1/3 shutout innings over two starts against Cincinnati this season.
Reds: LHP Alex Wood (1-1) has issued three walks and amassed 15 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings over his first four starts since coming off the injured list on July 28.