The city of Cincinnati was ready to keep the good times rolling, selling out Friday night’s game well in advance, and every fan got their money’s worth. The Reds trailed 5-0 before they even got a chance to bat, but they came back in a big way behind a cycle from Elly De La Cruz and two home runs from Joey Votto. Cincinnati’s 11-10 victory extended their winning streak to 12 games and ended the Atlanta Braves 8-game win streak.
|Atlanta Braves (48-27)
|Cincinnati Reds (41-35)
|W: Young (3-0) L: McHugh (3-1) SV: Diaz (21)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
The 1st inning was nightmare fuel for a sold out crowd at Great American Ball Park on Friday night. Excited for a game featuring their team riding an 11-game winning streak, but facing perhaps the best team in the league, Atlanta sent every hitter in their lineup to the plate and scored five runs off of Luke Weaver. Cincinnati went in order in the bottom of the 1st inning.
The Reds offense got going in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Elly De La Cruz nearly hit a ball through the wall in center, hitting a double with a 116.6 MPH exit velocity to lead off the inning. Jake Fraley battled with AJ Smith-Shawver and came out on top when he took the 7th pitch of the at-bat and crushed it into the seats in right field to get Cincinnati on the board and make it a 5-2 game.
The next inning it was once again Elly De La Cruz in the middle of it for the Reds offense. TJ Friedl drew a leadoff walk and proceeded two steal second and third during at-bats by Matt McLain and Jonathan India – both of whom would strike out. But De La Cruz got the job done when Smith-Shawver tried to drop a curveball in for a strike, and it did catch the bottom of the zone, but the Reds shortstop hit it into the third row of the seats in right field for a 2-run blast that cut the Reds deficit to 5-4.
Joey Votto had a little bit of something for the 20-year-old pitcher from Atlanta to lead off the 4th inning, crushing a 428-foot home run to center field to tie the game up. Spencer Steer was hit by a pitch and then took second base on a wild pitch. After getting Tyler Stephenson to fly out, the Braves made a pitching change. Collin McHugh would enter the game and get Luke Maile to ground out before a strikeout to end the inning.
Daniel Duarte, who took over in the top of the 4th for Luke Weaver with one out, returned to the mound to pitch in the top of the 5th inning. He gave up a leadoff single and then a 2-run homer to Matt Olson that put Atlanta back on top.
Cincinnati got the first two hitters of the inning on to begin the bottom of the 5th inning, but not in the way they’d prefer as Collin McHugh hit both Matt McLain and Jonathan India. Elly De La Cruz followed up with a single up the middle to drive McLain in and cut the Atlanta lead to 7-6. De La Cruz would steal second base to put himself in scoring position. Joey Votto then came through with his second homer of the game and the 3-run shot gave the Reds a 9-7 lead. In related news, the reports of his demise appear to have been incorrect.
Alex Young and Ian Gibaut combined to keep Atlanta off of the board in the top of the 6th inning and hold onto the 2-run lead. In the bottom of the frame TJ Friedl led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch, tagged up on a Matt McLain fly ball to move up to third base, and then he scored on Jonathan India’s RBI single past a drawn in infield. That brought Elly De La Cruz to the plate and the Reds rookie did something no Red has done in 34 years – he tripled for the cycle. India scored from first and Cincinnati took an 11-7 lead.
In the top of the 7th inning Atlanta began to put some pressure on the Reds. Buck Farmer took over to start the inning and after retiring the first two batters of the inning he gave up a single. Eddie Rosario then crushed a double off of the wall in right-center, but Jake Fraley made a quick play on the ball and fired it in and held Travis d’Arnaud at third base. Farmer then struck out Orlando Arcia to end the inning and keep a 4-run lead.
Atlanta would play home run derby in the top of the 8th inning, clubbing three solo home runs off of Lucas Sims and cutting the Reds lead to 11-10. After the Reds came up empty in the bottom of the 8th it was time for Alexis Diaz to take the mound in the 9th. He got things started with a pop up to Joey Votto, but he would walk Eddie Rosario to put the tying run on first. Atlanta called on a pinch runner for Rosario, but it didn’t matter because Orlando Arcia took the next pitch and grounded into a game-ending double play as Diaz picked up his 21st save of the season.
Key Moment of the Game
Elly De La Cruz’s RBI triple in the 6th inning. Not only did it complete the cycle for him, it was also what turned out to be the final run of the day for the team in a 1-run win.
Notes Worth Noting
Elly De La Cruz is the first Reds player to hit for the cycle since June 2nd or 1989 when Eric Davis did it. It was only the 6th cycle in Cincinnati Reds history. Long John Reilly, who is not related to Long John Silver, was the first to accomplish it back in 1890. Tom Parrot did it four years later. Then the franchise went 21 years before Heinie Groh had one in 1915. Harry Craft got it done in 1940. Frank Robinson then picked up his cycle in 1959.
Elly De La Cruz is the first player in the World Series Era (since 1903) to record 20 hits, 5 stolen bases and 3 HR in a player’s first 15 career games. pic.twitter.com/YbqXULaXsW
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 23, 2023
Elly De La Cruz of the @Reds is the only MLB player to hit for the cycle, steal a base and drive in 4+ runs all within the first 6 innings of a game (since RBI became an official stat in 1920).
— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) June 24, 2023
Elly De La Cruz is now hitting .361/.418/.656 through his first 15 games played. He also has seven stolen bases.
Joey Votto homered twice in a game for the first time since September 27th of 2021. He homered twice in five different games that year.
Alexis Diaz is now 21-for-21 in save opportunities.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves vs Cincinnati Reds
Saturday June 24th, 4:10pm ET
Jared Shuster (4-2, 4.57 ERA) vs Graham Ashcraft (3-5, 6.78 ERA)