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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Joey Votto Hotto Against Former Teammate Aaron Harang

Joey Votto hit three home runs and scored four times as the Reds collectively and individually blasted former teammate and still friend Aaron Harang.

Votto became the second Reds' player to hit three home runs in a game three times. Johnny Bench also did it three times. Votto hit three against the Chicago Cubs on May 7, 2008 and the Washington Nationals on May 13, 2012.  Bench hit three off Steve Carlton twice, once on July 26, 1970 and again on May 9, 1973.  Bench did it again against San Diego on May 29, 1980.

"It's very cliche to say it but anytime you're in a class with a name like Johnny Bench, I'm humbled by it" Votto said. "I know I'm not as good as he is but it is still nice to be there with him."

Votto had a chance for a fourth home run in the eighth off Jeanmar Gomez but grounded out to Utley at second.

"It was awesome for him to get the chance for the fourth," Bryan Price said. "I've seen it once in Seattle. Mike Cameron did it against the White Sox."

Votto wanted to hit the fourth.

"I happened to get lucky three times," Votto said. "The last time up I went out of the strike zone and that's the typical result when you do that. The game is constantly humbling.  If you ask former players after they retire what they miss and yes it's the guys in the clubhouse but the things they miss most is the competition. I love to compete."

The ambush started early in the Reds' third straight win, a 11-2 rout that was virtually bullpen proof.

Brandon Phillips and Votto walked to open the inning. Todd Frazier lined hard to right, while Phillips raced for third. Phillips was in between standing and sliding getting to third as the throw got away from Maikel Franco.  Jay Bruce laced a double that allowed Phillips a leisurely jog home. Zack Cozart followed with his ninth home run.

New Reds' nemesis Maikel Franco doubled to open the second inning against Anthony DeSclafani. Franco scored two outs later on a single by Carlos Ruiz.

The Reds lost Phillips, who stayed in to bat in the second inning but left the game with a strained left groin.

"It is a mild groin strain," Price said. "If it gets to the point that it's compromised, it makes for a long recovery time.  He probably won't play tomorrow but he might come in and be o.k."

Harang settled in but the man who is no stranger to the long ball at Great American Ball Park where he spent 7 1/2 seasons, gave up back-to-back home runs to Votto and Frazier.  Harang retired seven in a row before Votto beat him again, taking a good pitch out of the park to leftcenter.

Already short of a player with a banged up Billy Hamilton, sidelined with a sore wrist and hand, Bruce was ejected by plate umpire Adam Hamari for arguing a called third strike that he thought was high.

.De Jesus Jr. started the game in left but moved to second when Phillips left. Skip Schumaker went to left. Kristopher Negron replaced Bruce, going to center and Brennan Boesch, starting in center with Hamilton out moved to right.

Skip Schumaker and Krsitopher Negron were pressed into service, leaving only backup catcher Tucker Barnhart in reserve.

DeSclafani, looking for his third straight win, handled every one in the Phillies lineup except for Odubel Herrera, who had three hits, Franco with his daily two hits and Harang, who had a pair of singles.

"I made an adjustment in the bullpen," DeSclafani said. "I was just trying to attack hitters. I had a good defense behind me. You can't leave your foot off the gas at this level, whether you have a 10-run lead or it's 0-0. I still try to attack."

The Phillies mounted a threat in the seventh Carlos Ruiz walked. Pinch hitter Darin Ruf hit a ground ball up the middle that Cozart grabbed running to his left. Ivan De Jesus Jr. couldn't handle the backhand flip and all were safe. Ben Revere singled to center to load the bases.

"Trying to pitch against the same team twice is a challenge," Price said.
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Manny Parra replaced DeSclafani.  Chase Utley hit a sacrifice fly to center and Ryan Howard bounced to Votto, who flipped to Parra covering.

Schumaker singled off reliever Dustin McGowan to leadoff the seventh.  On the first pitch, Votto hit a 401 ft blast to right. The Reds added a 10th run when Herrera dropped Negron's line drive after Frazier and Pena singled. The 11th run scored on an RBI single by Negron in the eighth.

Ryan Mattheus and Nate Adcock finished off the Phillies.

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