Reds show ‘progress’, especially on offense, in 4-2 homestand

The Reds celebrate a victory against the Brewers on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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The Reds celebrate a victory against the Brewers on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Tyler Stephenson among Reds swinging a hot bat

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds didn’t exactly turn their season around with a 4-2 homestand — they still face a 12½-game deficit in the National League Central Division — but they did distance themselves from some of the worst teams in baseball history.

The Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 14-11 on Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park. By winning two of three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates (12-17) and then two of three against the first-place Brewers (20-12), the Reds took a small step on the long road back to respectability. They hope to continue on that path with a nine-game road trip that starts Thursday in Pittsburgh.

“It’s progress,” Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson. “We can’t look too far ahead. We just have to continue to play well.”

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Colin Moran, of the Reds, rounds the bases after a three-run home run against the Brewers in the eighth inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Colin Moran, of the Reds, rounds the bases after a three-run home run against the Brewers in the eighth inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

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Colin Moran, of the Reds, rounds the bases after a three-run home run against the Brewers in the eighth inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Here are three takeaways from the six games:

1. Explosive offense: The Reds scored a season-high 14 runs Wednesday two days after scoring in double figures for the first time in a 10-5 victory against the Brewers. In the last 15 days, a 14-game span, the Reds rank second in baseball with 79 runs scored (79). In April, they ranked 26th with 66 runs in 21 games.

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The Reds got on the board with an RBI double in the first by Stephenson. Two batters later, Tyler Naquin tripled with the bases loaded to give the Reds a 4-0 lead. In the second, Stephenson doubled with the bases loaded to score three more runs. The Reds added six runs in the eighth, three scoring on a home run by Colin Moran.

“It felt like nothing went our way early on,” Stephenson said, “but we’re having some big hits, two-strike hits and working counts, getting walks, which is huge.”

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Tyler Stephenson, of the Reds, doubles to drive in three runs against the Brewers in the second inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Tyler Stephenson, of the Reds, doubles to drive in three runs against the Brewers in the second inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

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Tyler Stephenson, of the Reds, doubles to drive in three runs against the Brewers in the second inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

2. Hot hitters: TJ Friedl, Tommy Pham and Stephenson all had three hits Wednesday. Stephenson, who was the designated hitter in this game with Aramis Garcia starting at catcher, raised his average to .322 with his fourth multi-hit game in his last seven appearances.

“He’s a presence in our lineup, in our clubhouse, behind the plate,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We’re going to have to get him days off; there’s no question. I was going to give him a full day off today. I had to be reminded by a couple of coaches, ‘Hey, maybe keep him in there as a DH.’ I’m grateful we have that communication. He was a big part of today’s game.”

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Tommy Pham, of the Reds, scores on a bases-clearing double by Tyler Stephenson as Brewers catcher Omar Narváez waits for the throw in the second inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Tommy Pham, of the Reds, scores on a bases-clearing double by Tyler Stephenson as Brewers catcher Omar Narváez waits for the throw in the second inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Combined ShapeCaption
Tommy Pham, of the Reds, scores on a bases-clearing double by Tyler Stephenson as Brewers catcher Omar Narváez waits for the throw in the second inning on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

3. Gaining momentum: The Reds began the homestand Friday with a 3-22 record. They needed to win two of their next four games to avoid joining the 2003 Detroit Tigers and 1988 Baltimore Orioles on the list of teams with the worst record through 29 games (4-25).

The 4-2 homestand gives the Reds a 7-24 mark. That’s still the worst record in baseball, but they have distanced themselves from the 1988 Orioles, who were 4-27 through 31 games and the 2003 Tigers, who were 6-25.

The Reds are tied for the 11th-worth worst record in the Modern Era with seven other teams that started 7-24, including the 2018 Reds, who finished 67-95. The 2022 and 2018 Reds are tied with the 1931 and 1934 Reds for the worst record through 31 games.

The Reds hope to keep the winning going in Pittsburgh and then Cleveland and Toronto.

“We have to take advantage of this road trip,” Pham said. “It’s not going to be easy. Pitching and defense always wins game. So if we can take care of the ball and get some good pitching, we should be all right.”

THURSDAY’S GAME

Reds at Pirates, 6:35 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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