Eli De La Cruz has first 2 home runs of game in Reds win

CLEVELAND — It’s already been a season full of thrilling comebacks and improbable rallies. But the Reds showed on Tuesday night that if they have even a speck of magic dust left, they’re going to find a way to make it work.

Cincinnati bounced back from two losses and hit five home runs to earn a dominant 11–7 victory over the Guardians at Progressive Field. It was the Reds’ 48th come-from-behind win, tying them for the Major League lead while keeping their hopes for a National League wild card berth alive.

Cleveland took leads 3–0 in two innings and 7–5 in four innings against starting pitcher Hunter Greene, who struck out in the fourth, but Cincinnati’s offense shut them out in a must-win game.

“It doesn’t matter if the game is close or we have to come back so hard, that’s why I like this team. We’re never going to give up,” Reds shortstop Eli De La Cruz said through translator George Merlos. “That’s why this team clicks so well.”

De La Cruz enjoyed the first multihomer game of his career with a solo shot to center field in the fourth inning. The exclamation point came on his two-run home run to right-center field in the ninth, which traveled a Statcast-projected 467 feet with an exit velocity of 119.2 mph. It was both the furthest and hardest hit balls of his brief big league career.

“He was sick,” first baseman Christian Encarnación-Strand said with a laugh.

Earlier in the day, the Reds revealed that infielder Matt McClain (right oblique strain) would not return for the regular season. Had McClain returned, it would probably have been at the expense of De La Cruz, who batted .157 (16-for-102) with three RBIs and 39 strikeouts in 28 games since his last homer on August 23. I entered.

“It’s been a difficult period, but that doesn’t mean we won’t still go out there with a positive attitude,” de la Cruz said. “No matter what happens, you have to finish strong. That’s the mentality you have to bring with you every time you go out on the field.”

In his previous start on Wednesday versus the Twins vs. Green, he delivered one of the best starts of his career, as he had 14 strikeouts in seven innings. On Tuesday it became immediately clear that he did not have any other gems.

Green gave up three homers while throwing 70 pitches over three innings. Bo Naylor’s three-run homer in the second inning put Cincinnati up 3–0. After taking a 4–3 lead in the top of the third inning, Green gave it up as Cole Calhoun and Andres Jimenez hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the third.

The worn-out Reds bullpen, which had been struggling mightily recently, came together to shut down Cleveland’s batters. Sam Moll pitched two scoreless innings after Green, and Fernando Cruz also pitched two perfect innings.

Lucas Sims pitched a stellar eighth inning and Alexis Diaz took over in the ninth. Combined, the bullpen allowed one hit in six scoreless innings.

“Not tonight [Greene’s] Best night,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It’s a team game. He has raised us a lot. Our offense was definitely able to catch him early. I thought the reply-back innings was really important. Our bullpen stepped up, starting with Sam Moll. He was excellent. Everyone who pitched was able to stop the scoring.

The first reply came from Luke Mail. He led off the top of the third inning with a homer to left field against Lucas Giolito. Mael’s two-out, two-run single to left field in the fifth inning – accompanied by De La Cruz’s headfirst slide across the plate – put the Reds ahead for good.

“The way our offense played tonight, it felt like we were on offense, and I think we needed that right now,” said Mel, who tied a career high with three hits. “We’re playing with nothing to lose. That’s what got us here, and that’s what will help us move forward.”

Electricity kept coming and going. Encarnación-Strand took the lead for his third consecutive game (and sixth in the last eight) with a two-run shot in the third inning. TJ Friedel added a leadoff homer to right field in the sixth inning, giving him a career-best four straight games with the long ball.

“Every game matters a lot,” Encarnación-Strand. “It means a lot to come out with a win.”

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