McCoy: Votto upstages big night by India, Reds pummel Cubs

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Joey Votto interview (Aug. 16, 2021)

Veteran first baseman reaches 2,000-hit plateau

Only Joey Votto could push aside a big night by one of his teammates.

On a night when Jonathan India drove in five runs, Votto upstaged him with his 2,000th career hit while the Cincinnati Reds crushed the Chicago Cubs, 14-5.

And Votto produced hits No. 2,000 and 2,001 in the same inning — the seventh, when the Reds scored eight runs.

Asked about his legacy, Votto kept his feet firmly planted.

“I want to perform well and the players I admire most are the ones that played well bowed out and said, ‘Thanks for having me,’” he said. “That’s the player I strive to be.

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“I signed a really big contract 10 years ago ($225 million) and my No. 1 priority was living up to that, making sure that the Reds and the ownership was really satisfied with my performance, that the fan base was satisfied with my performance. That’s my No. 1 priority. And I still feel that way. Each and every day I think about the importance of earning my paycheck and playing well,” he added.

“As far as legacy, I don’t think as much about that as being a competitive, useful player until I’m done.”

Votto may be close, but not done yet. And India is just getting started.

Just call him Roy India, as in Roy Hobbs from the movie The Natural, or R.O.Y. as in Rookie of the Year.

India continued his attention-grabbing play. He blasted three more hits, including a two-run home run and a three-run double for five RBI.

India launched a two-run home run in the fourth inning that was headed for Bombay before it crash-landed in the upper deck, 424 feet from home plate.

His eighth home run in the last 17 games jump-started the Reds’ victory. It was Chicago’s 12th straight defeat, befitting a team that traded away nearly all its able-bodied players and a team using a .194 hitter (David Bote) at clean-up.

Votto is only the second player in MLB history to get his 300th home run, 1,000th run batted in and 2,000th hit in the same season, joining Chicago’s Billy Williams.

“Williams is a Hall of Fame Cub,” said Votto. “To do all of that in the same year is great, but that hasn’t been my style during my career. I appreciate some of the attention and accolades. I typically shy away from it.”

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“But I felt like I’ve received a lot of attention this year with all the milestones, but it’s not typically my style, but it’s cool that I did it all in one year, doing the same thing as a Hall of Fame player.”

As Votto stood on first base after the 2,000th hit, the fans chanted, “MVP, MVP, MVP.”

Since manager David Bell inserted India, a precocious rookie, into the leadoff spot, India is doing a sterling imitation of Pete Rose, Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock.

India’s home run came after the Reds stranded six runners in the first three innings against Cubs left-hander Justin Steele, making his second major league start.

Tyler Naquin walked on a full count to open the fourth but there were two outs when India blasted his home run to make it 2-0.

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Not to be outdone, Aristides Aquino ripped a two-out two-run home run in the fifth that also plopped down in the upper deck, 442 feet from home plate to make it 4-0.

The Reds tucked it away with an eight-run seventh inning, the inning in which Votto slapped his hits No. 2000 and 2001. Jose Berrero walked as a pinch-hitter on his first at bat after his call-up from Class AAA Louisville earlier in the day and India slugged his three-run double.

While India and Aquino provided the early offense, Wade Miley became a 10-game winner with seven shutout innings, holding the toothless Cubs to four hits while walking one and striking out seven.

As Miley has said all season, “I’ve never lost a game when the team gets me 10 or more runs. My streak is alive.”

It was the 18th time the Reds have scored in double figures, most in the majors. And it was the seventh time they did it with Miley on the mound.

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