Joey Votto, in his 4th game back from rotator cuff surgery, went 2 for 4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI, the second of which put the Cincinnati Reds ahead for good in an absolutely wild night in front of a sold out Great American Ballpark. Now, how many of you reading this remembered that Votto hit 2 home runs without the reminder? I had to remind myself, because Elly De La Cruz stole the show once again. In only his 15th career game he went 4 for 5 and hit for the cycle, driving in 4 runs in the process. It was a feat not accomplished by a Red since Eric Davis did it back in 1989. That was obviously enough to earn him tonight’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game Award, as every one of those RBI’s was important as the Reds came back, and then held on, to defeat the Atlanta Braves 11-10 tonight to extend their win streak to 12 games.
In one of the most anticipated home series in quite a while, things started off about as bad as they could have. Before the Reds even came up to bat, they were staring down a 5-0 deficit, as Luke Weaver struggled to get outs and gave up a few big hits, including a 3-run home run to Travis d’Arnaud. It had the feeling of that August series against the Cardinals back in 2010, but this team is built different. The Reds chipped away and chipped away and tied the game on a Joey Votto solo home run in the bottom of the 4th.
The Braves immediately responded with a pair of runs in the 5th to go up 7-5, but a 4-run bottom of the inning put the Reds up for good. After back-to-back hit batters, Elly came up and muscled a broken bat single to cut the deficit to 7-6. Then came Joey Votto, who absolutely destroyed a ball over the wall in right to put the Reds up 9-7.
The most important run of the night, both for historical reasons and for reasons that would come to light in a couple of innings, came in the bottom of the 6th. With the Reds leading 10-7 after a RBI single by Jonathan India, Elly De La Cruz took a pitch low and out of the zone and sent it to the gap in right center for a triple, securing his historic night in hitting for the Reds’ first cycle in 34 years. Watching him run around the bases was wonderful, and it will never get old. I mean, look at this shit.
Elly De La Cruz running (for his cycle) is art. pic.twitter.com/3PcH6Vul1s— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 24, 2023
That run, as it turns out, would be incredibly important. With Lucas Sims pitching in the 8th, the Braves had one of the most true outcome innings you’ll see, as they hit 3 solo home runs with 3 strikeouts sprinkled in between. But, Alexis Diaz came on and got 3 quick outs, securing the victory and ending one of the best nights this ballpark has ever seen.
The vibes around this team are just incredible. We talked about it last night on the podcast and we’ve written about it many times already. I’ve never had this much fun watching baseball and to see them do it in this atmosphere against another one of the hottest teams in baseball was awesome. The good thing is that they get to do it again tomorrow. Graham Ashcraft (3-5, 6.78 ERA) makes his return from the Injured List as he looks to right the ship against a tough, tough lineup. His opponent will be rookie left-hander Jared Shuster (4-2, 4.57 ERA). First pitch is at 4:10 PM EDT from Great American Ballpark. Go Fucking Reds.