Votto, De La Cruz belt HRs as Reds rout Nationals, 9-2
Published 11:27 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2023
WASHINGTON (AP) — Elly De La Cruz hit a massive solo homer and two doubles after a mix-up with a covering on the knob of his bat, and the surging Cincinnati Reds beat the Washington Nationals 9-2 on Wednesday night.
Joey Votto also homered and finished with three hits as Cincinnati won for the seventh time in eight games. Will Benson had two hits and two RBIs for the NL Central leaders, and Graham Ashcraft (4-6) pitched six effective innings in his first win since May 28.
Washington collected 10 hits, but it went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position in its fourth loss in five games. Nationals right-hander Josiah Gray (6-7) allowed three earned runs and eight hits in five innings.
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De La Cruz, one of the majors’ top rookies and a key engine behind Cincinnati’s rise to the top of its division, had what appeared to be an empty sensor cover on the knob of his bat. But it was removed after Nationals manager Dave Martinez questioned its use before the infielder batted in the second.
Umpires reviewed the legality of the knob cover with the league office and informed De La Cruz he was allowed to put it back on his bat for his second at-bat in the third.
Major League Baseball said in a statement that “the housing used by the player is permissible and approved, which was communicated to the Nationals.”
The Reds have homered in 19 consecutive games for their second-longest streak in franchise history. Cincinnati’s longest homer streak was 21 games in 1956.
De La Cruz also doubled, stole third and scored on Jake Fraley’s single in the eighth. Fraley scored on Benson’s groundout to give the Reds a 9-2 lead.
The last-place Nationals dropped to 13-30 at home this year.
Ashcraft allowed one run and seven hits. The right-hander has put together a pair of solid starts following a calf contusion that put him on the 15-day injured list.
The Reds seek a four-game series sweep when Brandon Williamson (1-2, 5.56 ERA) faces Washington’s MacKenzie Gore (4-7, 4.48 ERA) in a matchup of left-handers. Gore is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in two career starts against the Reds.
Reds 9, Nationals 2
|Friedl cf||5||0||2||1||Thomas rf||4||1||2||0|
|McLain ss||6||0||1||1||García 2b||4||1||1||0|
|India 2b||4||0||1||0||Candelario 3b||4||0||1||0|
|De La Cruz 3b||6||2||3||1||Chavis 3b||1||0||0||0|
|Fraley rf||4||2||2||1||Meneses dh||3||0||1||1|
|Votto 1b||5||2||3||1||Smith 1b||3||0||0||0|
|Steer dh||5||1||1||0||Ruiz c||4||0||1||0|
|Stephenson c||2||2||1||1||Dickerson lf||3||0||2||0|
|Benson lf||5||0||2||2||Garrett ph-lf||1||0||0||0|
E–Candelario (5), García (5). DP–Cincinnati 3, Washington 1. LOB–Cincinnati 16, Washington 10. 2B–Stephenson (13), Benson (3), De La Cruz 2 (8), Candelario (27). HR–Votto (5), De La Cruz (4). SB–Benson (7), Friedl (16), Fraley (16), De La Cruz (11).
HBP–Ashcraft (Smith), Gray (Stephenson), La Sorsa (Friedl). WP–Ashcraft.
Umpires–Home, Quinn Wolcott; First, Manny Gonzalez; Second, Adrian Johnson; Third, Emil Jimenez.
T–3:09. A–13,252 (41,376).