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Frazier’s bat returns, and Reds win third straight

Todd Frazier slid into second base, popped to his feet and smiled as if had been wearing a baseball doughnut around his neck for the past two weeks and had finally shed the weight. He looked at his teammates in the dugout and mimed as if he were going to pick up the base in celebration.

Frazier’s double with one out in the first inning Friday ended an 0-for-31 drought, the longest of his career. Days after a conversation with Pete Rose and on the night he choreographed the music for the Friday night fireworks at the stadium, Frazier looked again like the star he was last summer as a rookie.

That double set the tone for the Reds, who beat the Padres 7-2 in the opener of a three-game series in front of 30,288 at Great American Ball Park. From the moment Frazier slid into second and looked back to his teammates, it seemed to be the Reds’ night.

“They were making me laugh in there,” Frazier said. “It’s a fun moment. That’s what team’s about. They have your back. I’m very happy just to see the smiles on their face, because they’re there with me, and I’m with them 100 percent every time.

“Do you want to get in a funk? No. Oh-for-10’s a slump, not 0-for-30. They’re pretty tough, but I’m glad to be back. I never left basically. It’s just a matter of finding your way. Five years from now, maybe I can look back at this and say it was a good experience for me because I’ll be an All-Star or a world champ.”

Frazier went 2-for-3. He also walked and beat out an infield single. He scored all three times he reached base. He has a long way to go to raise his average to a respectable number — it’s at .236 right now — but this was a step.

Frazier credited Rose calling him earlier in the week and for helping him escape his funk — not a slump, mind you, because Rose told Frazier never to call it a slump.

“That was the first time I ever talked to him,” Frazier said. “It was an eye-opener for me. I’m glad he (called). Enough was enough. I’m just happy to produce and help the team out.”

Frazier hit second in the order for the second straight game. He went 0-for-3 with a walk in Wednesday’s 6-5 victory over the A’s.

“I was hoping Todd would get his act together,” Baker said. “We need him big time.”

Frazier and the offense provided more than enough run support for starter Bronson Arroyo (10-9). He retired the first 11 batters and allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. Arroyo made one mistake, giving up a home run to Logan Forsythe in the fifth.

The Reds (64-51) have won three games in a row since losing two out of three to the Cardinals last weekend. They haven’t won four in a row since May.

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