Dusty Baker has perfected the reverse jinx.
“It’ll probably be another tough series with some low-scoring games or close games,” the Reds manager said before the game.
Falser words were never spoken. The Reds routed Washington 15-0 on Friday at Great American Ball Park in the first game of the weekend series, and while it could still turn out to be a tough series, the only question in this one was, “Will they run out of fireworks?”
The Reds hit six home runs, one short of the team record at Great American Ball Park, and they were a foot short of a seventh. The Reds have hit more home runs in one game only 10 times in team history. It was their biggest shutout victory since 1998.
“A lot of people were questioning how good we were hitting in the first series, even though we won two of three,” said shortstop Zack Cozart, who went deep twice with a career-high five RBIs. “We showed we can hit. Tonight was obviously a good night. They’ve got good pitching, and we hit their good pitching.”
The only person who had a worse night than the Nationals pitchers was the fan who ran onto the field in the seventh, slid into second base and then high-fived a wary Devin Mesoraco before getting tackled by security guards in left field.
Perhaps the fan was looking for a bat because at times it looked as if anyone could hit a home run. The wind wasn’t blowing out — in fact, it wasn’t blowing at all, judging by the flags in center — but the balls were.
• Todd Frazier and Cozart hit back-to-back home runs to left in the second on consecutive pitches.
• Cozart homered again in the third, a three-run shot to left.
• Shin-Soo Choo hit his second home run in as many days in the fourth, a blast to center.
• Frazier, who went 4-for-5, went deep for the third time in the last two games, a two-run bomb in the seventh.
• Later in the seventh, Xavier Paul ripped a grand slam to right to give the Bengals a two-touchdown lead over the Redskins — or so it seemed, as the scoreboard read 14-0.
“There was something in the air tonight, I think,” Paul said. “Fortunately, I got in there and got a piece of the action.”
Homer Bailey pitched a strong game in his first start of the season — not that he had to. Bailey gave up two hits in six scoreless innings.
Cozart came into the game without a hit in 11 at-bats, but he broke out in a big way.
“I’ve hit some balls hard,” he said before the game. “They just aren’t falling. That’s baseball. Before you know it, you get that one out of the way, and they keep coming.”
Truer words were never spoken.
Nationals at Reds, 1:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410