McCoy: Reds play home run derby in big win over Rockies

Cincinnati sets franchise record by hitting homers in each of the first five innings

When the Colorado Rockies wear their purple-trimmed road uniforms they are the ultimate defenseless punching bags.

And the Cincinnati Reds took advantage of it, and then some, for an 11-5 romp Friday night in Great American Ball Park.

The Rockies are 5-25 this season on the road and judging from Friday’s showing one wonders how they won five games.

The Reds rocked home runs in each of the first five innings off Colorado left hander Kyle Freeland. It was the first time in franchise history, since the Reds joined the National League in 1890 when Benjamin Harrison was president that the team hit home run in the first five innings.

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Freeman tied the Rockies franchise record as he watched five of his pitches clear the outfield walls.

—Jesse Winker singled in the first  inning on the first pitch and Nick Castellanos drove the second pitch he saw over the right field wall, his 13th homer. 2-0.

—Eugenio Suarez led the second with a double off the left field wall and Scott Heineman torched one into the second deck in left field. Heineman is 2 for 14 this year, both hits are home runs. 4-0.

—Castellanos walked with one out. Tyler Stephenson hit what should have been an inning-ending double play. But the ball went between third baseman

Ryan McMahon’s legs like a bad hockey goalie for an error. Joey Votto launched his second home run in two days, a three-run rip. 7-0.

—Kyle Farmer opened the fourth inning by clearing the left field wall for a home run. 8-0.

—Tyler Stephenson led off the fifth inning by crushing a home run to center field. 9-0.

Votto’s three-run homer was the crusher, turning a 4-0 lead into a 7-0 lead. And the usually stoic Votto showed unusual emotion after he hit it.

“Early in the season Jonathan India hit his first major league home run and a few days ago I told him I admired his show of passion during the year,” said Votto. “It was something I wanted to add to my game. It is something I feel like I’m missing.

“More than anything, his reaction was natural, he wasn’t forcing it,” Votto added about India. “It is not quite as easy for me as it was when I was a younger player. And so doing well feels that much more special.

“That was one of those special moments,” he said. “I haven’t had a lot of success against left- handed pitchers so far this year. And I want to play every day and we are trying to win. So I have to produce against whoever is on the mound. I did on that occasion and it made me feel real good.”

Mercifully, Colorado manager Bud Black finally permitted Freeland to take a shower. He gave up nine runs, all nine scoring on the five Reds home runs.

The Rockies finally got into the act in the sixth inning when they scored four runs off Reds starter Tyler Mahle.

Mahle gave up a leadoff single to Raimel Tapia to open the game, then nothing more, no more hits until the sixth.

The Rockies poked three straight singles in the sixth. One run scored on a wild pitch and McMahon cracked a three-run home run to right field, cutting Cincinnati’s lead to 9-4.

Mahle needed 30 pitches to cover the sixth inning and he was finished after the inning. Mahle, now 6-2, gave up four runs on five hits over six in nings with one walk and six strikeouts.

Getting all the early runs made Mahle’s workday less pressurized, more relaxing.

“It was awesome,” he said, “When the team is hitting like that you can just go out and try to get outs, note try to do too much. They put on a clinic. It was crazy. Props to them for giving me an easy day.”

Mahle has won three straight with three solid performances.

“I don’t think in my professional career, in the big leagues, I don’t know if I pitched like this over this amount of time,” he said. “I always found myself having a good start, bad start, good start, bad start. It feels pretty good to be a little more consistent.”

Before turning the game over to the undependable bullpen, the Reds added two runs in the seventh, without a home run. Relief pitcher Yency Almonte retired the first two, then gave up two walks and another hit to Castellanos to fill the bases.

Black brought in rookie left hander Lucas Gilbreath. He walked Votto on four pitches to force in a run and then walked Mike Freeman on four pitches to force in another run to make it 11-4. It was Votto’s 17th career bases-loaded walk. And Freeman was 0 for 14 with the bases loaded.

So the bullpen was asked to protect a seven-run lead. Ryan Hendrix gave up an eighth-inning solo home run to Brandon Rodgers. That was only the 15th home run the Rockies have hit on the road this season in 30 games.