video thumbnail

Must C Classic: Votto hits 100th career home run

BALTIMORE -- If not for the big brick Camden Yards warehouse and the abundance of orange, one might have wondered if Saturday's Reds-Orioles game was moved to the small confines of Great American Ball Park.

Like crooked votes, home runs were coming early and often, with a total of nine long balls being slugged on the evening. The Reds collected a season-high five homers to outpower the Orioles by a 10-5 score.

"It's fun when you hit more than they hit," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "But you're never really comfortable in a game like this the way the ball is flying."

Of the 15 runs in the game, the first 14 were scored on homers.

"Holy cow. I didn't realize that," said Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who was 3-for-4 with two homers while tying a career high with five RBIs. "I don't think that's something that we can necessarily get used to. I think we kind of like playing old-school ball."

It was obviously a big night for the Reds lineup, but it was important because of the offensive funk the club had been in lately against American League East pitching.

Before Wednesday's 10-2 win in a doubleheader nightcap over the Yankees, Cincinnati had scored only nine runs over five games against New York and the Blue Jays. And during Friday's 5-4 loss in 12 innings, the big run-scoring hit was often elusive. Votto himself was in a personal funk, batting only .182 in his previous 11 games.

"It's a good one to be a part of. This team can slug," said designated hitter Jonny Gomes, who had the Reds' first homer of the game in the top of the second. "I don't think any of them were because the wind was blowing or due to the ballpark. It was nice to see our boys jump on board and drive some dudes in."

Although he tied a career high with four homers allowed, Reds starter Bronson Arroyo emerged the winning pitcher. Arroyo gave up five runs and nine hits over 6 1/3 innings, with three walks and six strikeouts.

Adam Jones connected for the night's first long ball with two outs in the Baltimore first inning when he took Arroyo's 1-1 pitch to right-center field for a solo shot. In the top of the second against lefty Brian Matusz, Gomes answered with his 10th homer of the season on a 2-0 count.

In the top of the third inning, Chris Heisey led off with a double and Brandon Phillips beat out an infield single. Next came Votto, who fouled off a pair of 0-2 pitches before working the count full with three straight balls. He then went deep to right-center field for a three-run home run, his first since June 13. It was career homer No. 100 for Votto, and gave the Reds a 4-1 lead.

"Bad location," Matusz said. "Very bad locations to quality hitters. With Votto, there's not many guys in the league that will hit a 3-2 curveball like that from a left-hander over the left-field wall."

Arroyo could not keep the ball in the ballpark any better than Matusz, however. With a runner on first base in the bottom of the third, Nick Markakis drove the first pitch into right-center field for a two-run homer. There was one out in the fourth when Matt Wieters tied the game with a solo homer to left-center field.

Saving Arroyo on three occasions were double plays on the ground. A big one came in the fifth, when, with runners on first and second and no outs, Vladimir Guerrero hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

"I got out of a couple of jams," Arroyo said. "The double play was obviously huge in that inning."

Leading off the Reds' fifth, Phillips hit a double to left field before Votto attacked a 2-1 Matusz pitch for a two-run homer into right-center field, his 11th of the season, for a 6-4 lead.

"I really couldn't go out there and feel comfortable once we got the 6-4 lead because I realized runs were coming pretty quickly in this ballpark," Arroyo said. "I had to bear down on every pitch pretty much after that."

Following a one-out walk to Votto in the seventh, Scott Rolen got involved by sending Brad Bergesen's 1-1 pitch to left field for a two-run homer. Drew Stubbs added the fifth and final homer for the Reds in the top of the eighth, with a solo shot to straightaway center field. The only run not generated from a homer came on Phillips' two-out RBI single that scored Edgar Renteria later in the eighth.

Arroyo returned for the seventh inning and surrendered a one-out solo homer to J.J. Hardy that made it a three-run game and finished his night. It also gave Arroyo 21 homers allowed on the season, which leads Major League Baseball.

The Reds' bullpen shut it down from there, with Bill Bray and Logan Ondrusek combining for 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Aroldis Chapman, in his first game back from the disabled list, struck out the side in the ninth.

MLB.com Comments