In a scene straight out of a movie, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier told the honorary bat boy, Teddy Kremer, he would hit a home run for him and then did.
All the story lacked was drama because the Reds already led 9-1 when Frazier blasted his team-best fifth home run of the season in the sixth inning Thursday.
“He said, ‘C’mon, hit me a home run. I love you,’” Frazier said. “I said, ‘I love you, too. I’ll hit you one.’ It was great how excited he was. I saw him smiling before I even hit home plate.”
Kremer, a young man from Cincinnati with Down syndrome, has become a good luck charm of sorts for the Reds. He was in the dugout for a victory last season, and the Reds rewarded one of their biggest fans with another victory Thursday, 11-1 over the Marlins at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds, who remain a half game behind the Cardinals in the National League Central Division, have won the first four games on this 10-game homestand by a 27-5 margin. They scored a total of 14 runs in the five-game skid that preceded this four-game winning streak.
“Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said shortstop Zack Cozart, who has three straight multi-hit games. “We know we have the potential to be one of the best (lineups), even without one of our best bats (Ryan Ludwick). The sky’s the limit.”
The Marlins have the worst record in the big leagues (3-13), so the result is about as surprising as the fact that Reds first baseman Joey Votto walked twice more. He’s walked 24 times in 16 games, more than twice as much as anyone else in baseball.
The Reds didn’t need much pitching, but they got a solid outing from Tony Cingrani. The left-hander got his first major-league win in his first start.
Promoted from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, Cingrani gave up five hits and three walks in five innings. He made one mistake, giving up a game-tying solo home run to Justin Ruggiano in the fourth. Cingrani also struck out eight.
“He did his job,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He pitched well. He kept us in the game. He was probably overthrowing just a little bit because he was throwing high, and that’s not usually him, but that’s to be expected in his first start.”
The Reds opened the scoring with a run in the third. Shin-Soo Choo took over the team lead in runs (12) when he singled, moved to third on a single by Cozart and then scored on a wild pitch.
The Reds added four runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth. Choo, Cozart and Frazier all had two-hit nights, and Jay Bruce went 1-for-2 with two walks and scored three runs.
Marlins at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410