Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani gave up only three hits over seven innings on Labor Day in Great American Ball Park.
He struck out eight and retired the last 13 he faced, the last three via strikeouts.
That’s the positive.
Two of those three hits were two-run home runs, one by Scott Kingery and one by Rhys Hoskins.
That’s the negative.
And home runs are something that has betrayed DeSclafani all year, 27 of them.
The Phillies produced only six hits in the first game of this four-game series, but four carried into the great beyond where home runs go to land.
To stay on the same road map, relief pitcher Wandy Peralta gave up back-to-back home runs in the eighth as the Philadelphia Phillies put the game in the ‘W’ category, 7-1.
All seven Philadelphia runs were produced by home runs. And the Reds one run was a home run, a solo rip in the second inning by the incomparable Aristides Aquino.
“It was just those two pitches (for home runs),” said DeSclafani. “I got ahead of a lot of guys, threw a lot of first-pitch strikes.”
DeSclafani knows, though, without being reminded, with no lecture, why his record is 9-and-8.
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“It’s no secret I have to cut down on home runs and that’ll make irt a lot easier,” he said. “All in all, to rate my outing, I thought I threw the ball pretty well. Sometimes you have to evaluate your outings a little bit differently.”
Scott Kingery gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the second when he followed a walk to Cesar Hernandez with his 16th home run.
Kingery is Philadephia’s version of Where’s Waldo. He played all three outfield positions, third base, shortrstop and second base. On Monday he was playing shortstop.
“Kingery’s home run …the pitch was elevated a little bit,” said DeSclafani. “It was almost an off-balance swing that he barreled and it barely got out. I guess I have to just tip my cap.”
Everybody knows where to find Aquino. He is either standing in right field and uncoiling in the batter’s box to hit a baseball so hard it yelps.
He did it again Monday leading off the bottom of the second. He hit it so hard and so far left fielder Corey Dickerson neither budged nor looked back as the ball crash landed in the upper deck, home run No. 15.
The 417-footer came on Aquino’s 122nd plate appearances, making him the fastest to hit 15 homers to start a career. The old record was 135, held by Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins, whom Aquino passed at first base on his trip around the bases.
Hoskins, though, immediately showed Aquino and the Reds that he remains relevant. In the top of the third, he followed a single by Brad Miller with a home run of his own, over the left center wall. It was his 26th and gave the Phillies a 4-1 lead.
DeSclafani struck out the side in he seventh and turned the baseball over to Wandy Peralta for the eighth.
Peralta, part of the Reds’ September call-ups, retired the first two Phillies. Then, ka-boom.
Pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez singled, Bryce Harper cleared the right field wall for his 30th home run, Hoskins followed with his second home run of the game and 27th of the season, burying the Reds under four home runs that produced a 7-1 lead.
As so often happens with the Reds concerned, a pitcher with little success during the season displays his best talents.
Philadelphia starter Dean Smyly entered the game with a 2-and-6 record and a 6.95 earned run average. In his previous four starts he had given up 17 runs and 28 hits.
The Reds on Monday? One run, four hits, three walks, eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
And a familiar face added a little dig at the Reds. Relief pitcher Jared Hughes, picked up by the Phillies when the Reds released him, followed Smyly with 1 2/3 perfect innings with a strikeout.