June 19, 1994: The Reds explode for 20 hits for the second consecutive day against the Atlanta Braves to claim first place in the National League Central Division. Included in those 20 hits were four first inning homers off Braves star John Smoltz, who sets a National League record for most total bases allowed in an inning with 20. The Reds won this game 12-4 as they moved 1/2 game ahead of the Houston Astros.
The win moved the Reds into first place, a spot the Reds did not relinquish the remainder of the 1994 strike-shortened season. The 12-4 win followed on the heels of the previous day’s 16-0 Reds victory over the Braves and Tom Glavine in another game where the Reds get 20 hits.
The Reds opened the top of the first with four runs before the first out was recorded, and scoring three more times in the inning with one out. Deion Sanders opened with a ground single up the middle and advanced to second base when Smoltz threw the ball away trying to pick him off first. Barry Larkin singled up the middle, scoring Sanders with the Reds’ first run. Hal Morris followed with a two-run home run over the left-center field fence, scoring Larkin, and then Kevin Mitchell took Smoltz out of the park, making the score 4-0. Tony Fernandez fouled out, but Reggie Sanders lined a single to right field. Jeff Branson connected with a two-run homer to right, and Eddie Taubensee followed with the Reds fourth homer of the inning, a fly ball down the right field line. One out later, Sanders singled again, but was stranded at first base.
Taubensee finished the day with four hits, including two home runs and a double. Mitchell, Sanders, and Larkin all collected three hits for the Reds.
The hit barrage followed the previous day’s Reds’ 16-0, 20 hit onslaught. On the 18th, the Reds opened with three in the top of the first, and Reds’ pitcher John Smiley scattered three hits through seven innings to hold the Reds’ lead. The Reds broke the game open in the seventh, scoring five times, followed by two in the eighth, and six more in the ninth inning. Combined with the Reds seven run 1st inning performance on the 19th, the Reds scored 20 runs over four consecutive innings against the Braves pitching staff.
The big hits in the 16-0 game were a seventh-inning home run by Reggie Sanders, and a ninth inning homer off the bat of catcher Brian Dorsett. For this day, the Reds’ keystone combination of Barry Larkin and Bret Boone each collected four hits, and Jerome Walton had three.
As mentioned earlier, the wins moved the Reds into first place in the National League Central Division, a lead that remained throughout the remainder of the season. Unfortunately for Reds fans, the players voted to go on strike on August 12, and the owners voted to cancel the season and postseason on August 26. Only two owners voted against canceling the season: the Orioles’ Peter Angelos and the Reds’ Marge Schott.