CINCINNATI (AP) — Aristides Aquino keeps hitting historic home runs.
Cincinnati’s red-hot rookie had a three-run homer, Nick Senzel added a leadoff shot and the Reds dropped the St. Louis Cardinals back into a tie with Chicago for first place in the NL Central Division with a 6-1 victory on Saturday.
With the Reds leading 2-1 in the fifth, Aquino followed two-out singles by Josh VanMeter and Freddy Galvis with a no-doubt drive to center field on Milos Mikolas’ first pitch for his second homer in two nights, his 10th in his last 11 games and 11th in his 17th career games.
“I was ready for the fastball, but he hung a slider,” Aquino said through an interpreter. “I put a good swing on it.”
Aquino is the first rookie since 1900 with 11 homers in his first 17 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“I have a job to do, but watching Aquino, I’m like a fan,” manager David Bell said. “We know what he’s capable of doing, but it is fun to watch for me and the fans. He has an approach that he’s comfortable with. He’s locked in right now. That home run changed the complexion of the game.”
One day after being rocked for 18 hits and 13 runs, Cincinnati pitching limited St. Louis to Matt Carpenter’s second-inning solo homer, one of five hits and three walks allowed by Anthony DeSclafani in five innings. DeSclafani (8-7) struck out four.
DeSclafani’s seven career wins against St. Louis are three more than he has against any other team.
The Cardinals were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.
“You can’t pin everything on Milos,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “It was a group effort. We left 10 guys out there. We weren’t able to push anything across.”
The Cardinals loaded the bases against Lucas Sims with one out in the sixth, but he struck out pinch-hitter Paul DeJong and got Dexter Fowler to pop up.
Michael Lorenzen allowed one hit and had three strikeouts in two innings. He also had two hits. R.J. Alaniz finished up.
The Reds roughed up Mikolas (7-13) for seven hits and five runs with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings. He is 1-4 over his last six starts.
“I felt like I didn’t have my best stuff,” said Mikolas, 0-3 in four starts against Cincinnati this season. “I had trouble keeping the ball down. Then you make one mistake to one of their best hitters and that’s the ballgame.”
Senzel led off the bottom of the first with his third leadoff home run and 10th overall.
Phillip Ervin and Tucker Barnhart singled to lead off the fourth, setting up José Iglesias’ tiebreaking sacrifice fly.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
Fowler was thrown out at third base by center fielder Senzel trying to go from first to third on Marcell Ozuna’s two-out single in the fifth inning. Yairo Munoz was thrown out at second by Ervin trying to stretch his two-out single off the left-field wall into a double in the eighth.