Votto hits 3 homers, Reds belt 5 in all to crush Phillies
With another three-homer game, Joey Votto caught up to Johnny Bench in another way.
Votto hit that many in a game for the third time in his career — matching Bench as the only Reds players to do it — and Cincinnati piled up five total on Tuesday night in an 11-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Hall of Fame catcher was the National League’s MVP twice. The current first baseman won the award in 2010, giving them that much in common.
And now, they’re known for homers, too.
"Today was wild," Votto said. "It was one of those rare games. I read on the board that I tied Johnny Bench. He’s such a historic Red. To do something like that is quite special."
How he did it was quite shocking.
Votto hit two of the Reds’ four homers off Aaron Harang (4-7), who had given up a total of four all season. After walking in his first plate appearance, Votto connected on a couple of pitches that Harang thought were pretty good.
"The first pitch was a change-up down and away," Harang said. "The second one was a sinker down and away. That second one was more ridiculous than the first — below the knees and he hit it well."
Votto added a two-run homer in the seventh inning off Dustin McGowan, then grounded out in the eighth, finishing one shy of the major league record.
"I just happened to get lucky on three pitches," said Votto, who has hit nine of his 13 homers at Great American Ball Park. "A few of them were out of the (strike) zone, that’s not typical. You’re going to fail a lot if you swing at balls out of the zone."
It was an all-or-nothing night for the Reds, who matched their season high for homers while pulling away to their most lopsided win. Four of their first five hits off Harang cleared the wall — Zack Cozart hit a three-run shot in the first inning, and Todd Frazier had a solo homer.
It was the fourth time in his career that Harang allowed four homers in a game. He hadn’t done it since 2007, when he pitched for the Reds.
The Phillies lost their sixth in a row on the road, their longest slump since they dropped 11 straight in 2013. Philadelphia has the majors’ worst road record at 7-22. The Phillies have lost 12 of their last 15 games overall.
Anthony DeSclafani (5-4) matched his career high by fanning seven batters and gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings to a lineup that struggles away from Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies average 3.03 runs per game on the road, the fewest in the majors.
Harang had some of his best years in Cincinnati, where he pitched from 2003-10. He’s struggled in his last two starts, both of them against the Reds. He’s lost four consecutive starts for the first time since 2009, when he dropped five in a row.
Phillies: If right-hander Chad Billingsley has no problems after his bullpen session Tuesday, he’ll throw again in a couple of days and then start a rehab assignment. He’s been on the disabled list with a strained shoulder since May 17.
Reds: Center fielder Billy Hamilton was out of the lineup with a sore left hand. Second baseman Brandon Phillips strained his groin while sliding into third base in the first inning and left the game an inning later.
Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce was ejected by plate umpire Adam Hamari in the third inning for arguing a called third strike.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was hitless in four at-bats, leaving him in an 0-for-18 slump. Third baseman Maikel Franco extended his hitting streak to eight games (15 for 32).
HARANG A HIT
Harang singled in his first two at-bats, matching his season total. He had been 2 for 22 with a single and a double.
Phillies: Jerome Williams (3-5) tries for his first win since May 16. He’s 0-2 with a pair of no-decisions since.
Reds: Jon Moscot (0-1) makes his second start in the majors. He took a 6-2 loss to San Diego in his debut on Friday, allowing four runs in five innings.