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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.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Jay Bruce, Eugenio Suarez Power Reds To Sweep

Jay Bruce and Eugenio Suarez homered and had four RBI  in the Reds' eight-run fourth inning as the Reds swept the Philadelphia Phillies with a 10-6 win.

Bruce unloaded on Phillies' starter Charlie Morton with a three-run home run after singles by Joey Votto and Adam Duvall.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. walked one out later. Tucker Barnhart singled after De Jesus stole second to put runners on first and third.  Daniel Stumpf relieved Morton to make his Major League debut but walked Scott Schebler to load the bases. Eugenio Suarez hit his first career grand slam but the Reds weren't finished.  Votto walked. Bret Oberholtzer replaced Stumpf.  Duvall walked.  Bruce singled to drive in Votto to give him his fourth RBI of the inning.  Jordan Pacheco got the distinction of making two outs in the inning with a fly to center.

"Jay put a lot of work in to close some holes in his swing," manager Bryan Price said.. "I know he was disappointed in his last two seasons."

Robert Stephenson, who made his Major League debut, was the beneficiary of the rally.

 "Stephenson was much better than we saw in his last spring training game. He was very focused and kept the ball down. He challenged hitters in the strike zone,." Price said.

Stephenson knew his last start in Goodyear, Arizona was an audition for this day when the Reds had to find the starter for the third game of the season.  He walked five that night against the Brewers, three in the first inning.  "The game got away from me," Stephenson said that night.

After getting his first win of his career in his debut, the Reds first pick in the 2011 draft was thankful for the run support.

"It was very exciting. It is good to get the jitters out of the way," Stephenson said.. "I know what to expect when I come back now."

The Phillies got three singles to score an unearned run off Stephenson in the third. Morton singled to open the inning. Freddie Galvis followed with a single.  Stephenson struck out Odubel Herrera in a nine-pitch at bat.  Maikel Franco fouled out to thirdbase. Ryan Howard singled sharply to right.  Phillies thirdbase coach, Juan Samuel, held Morton at third but Jay Bruce bobbled the ball in right and Morton scored on the error.

Morton retired the first seven Reds before Barnhart walked.  Schebler hit his third double in as many games and Barnhart avoided the tag at home to tie the game.

Cedric Hunter his his first career home run off Stephenson in the fourth.  Ryan Howard hit his first home run of the season with a man on off Stephenson in the fifth.

 "The add on runs made the difference," Price said. "The Phillies kept coming back. Everyone is going to have to contribute this year."

Bruce hit his second home run of the game in the seventh inning.  It is his 18th multi-home run game.  He drove in five runs total on the day.  Barnhart had three hits and walked once.

Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run home run off Keyvius Sampson, the first runs off the bullpen this season.

The Reds have beaten the Phillies eight consecutive games that includes two series sweeps.

."How we won these games is more important than the wins themselves," Bruce said. "Everyone contributed. We know we can come back if we get behind."

Bruce tied Ken Griffey Jr. for seventh place on the Reds' All-time home run list with 210.

"It is an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Ken's. I saw how he changed the game. He's a friend of mine. I'm not worthy," Bruce said.

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