McCoy: Reds use big bats to record first series sweep of season

Cincinnati Reds' Mike Moustakas hits a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Cincinnati, Sunday, July 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

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Cincinnati Reds' Mike Moustakas hits a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Cincinnati, Sunday, July 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

The Cincinnati Reds didn’t require any walk-off heroics to complete a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon in Great American Ball Park.

It was a walk-over.

The Reds went to the power ball in the third inning while scoring seven runs en route to a 10-5 victory.

They bashed three home runs in the third against Tampa Bay starter Shane Baz, a guy who had given up one earned run in each of his previous three starts. And he had given up three home runs all season.

The offensive explosion enabled the Reds to score their first series sweep of the year and to record their fourth straight victory.

They had four walk-off wins last week, but on this day, they wore out their bats — 14 hits, seven for extra bases (three homers, three doubles and a triple).

Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson and Mike Moustakas launched 1,164 feet worth of home runs in the third.

Matt Reynolds opened the third with a single and India fouled off four 1-and-2 pitches before pulling a 349-foot home run into the first row of the left-field seats.

Stephenson’s fourth hit in two games since coming of the injured list, was a two-run 425-foot blast that put a dent in the black batter’s eye building in straight-away center.

Moustakas, who hadn’t homered since May 13 when he hit career No. 199 in Pittsburgh, finally clobbered No. 200, a two-run 390-foot rip into the right field sun deck for a 7-0 lead.

Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo appreciated the offensive outburst but had a fourth-inning lapse with a 7-0 lead.

The Rays scored three runs and had the bases loaded, one swing from tying game the game, but Lodolo caught Taylor Walls looking at strike three.

It took Lodolo 41 pitches to cover the fourth. The Reds, though, retrieved those three runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 10-3 lead.

Despite a mounting pitch count by Lodolo, manager David Bell permitted him to pitch the fifth so he would qualify for the win.

The fundamentals-conscious Rays shot themselves in both feet with shoddy play early in the game.

Lodolo’s first pitch of the game was crushed for a double by Yandy Diaz and Harold Ramirez reached on an infield single to put runners on third and first with no outs. Lodolo struck out Taylor Walls and hard-swinging Randy Arozarena on three pitches, then Isaac Paredes popped up.

With a runner on first and two outs in the third, Walls singled to right. Tyler Naquin slipped fielding the ball and Walls made a wide turn at first base. Naquin threw behind him to first and nailed him.

During the Reds’ seven-run third, Tommy Pham drove one to right and Jason Lowe tried for a diving catch. The ball slithered past him, and Pham had a triple.

Naquin grounded to short and Pham broke for home, but stopped and retreated back to third. Rays catcher Rene Pinto threw the ball into left field and Pham scored.

It was that kind of day for the Rays.

Lodolo gave up three runs and nine hits during his 103-pitch five-inning day, but was the winning pitcher, leveling his record at 2-2.

Joel Kuhnel pitched the eighth and gave up a pair of harmless solo home runs to Lowe and Pinto. The Rays, advocates of the three-outcome approach, hit three home runs, struck out 14 times and walked once.

Stephenson and Donovan Solano each had three hits while Pham and Reynolds provided two each. Albert Almora Jr.  (0 for 17) was the only hitless Reds’ starter.

After losing two of three to both Atlanta and the New York Mets, the three-game sweep of Tampa Bay gave the Reds a 5-4 homestand.

They take Monday off, then travel to New York for the start of a three-game series against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium.

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