Donald Lutz called his mom Marlen in Germany before Sunday’s Reds game to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. He worried the connection would be bad, but everything worked out. She heard him well enough to detect a hitch in his voice, and Lutz told her he’s been sick.
“Make sure you take your vitamins,” she told him.
Lutz must have listened. The 235-pound German left-fielder, the first player from Major League Baseball’s International European Academy to play in the big leagues, led the Reds to a 5-1 victory over the Brewers with a three-run home run in the second inning. After the game, he confirmed “home run” in German is still “home run.”
Lutz had a smile as wide as the Atlantic Ocean when he returned to the dugout after his first career home run, a line drive over the fence in right in front of a crowd of 38,813 at Great American Ball Park. From the dugout steps, pitcher Mat Latos urged the photographers to get a good photo of the smile so Lutz’s mom could see it back in Friedberg, Germany.
Lutz’s mom hasn’t seen him play in person since he was called up to the Reds last month because she’s busy taking care of his 98-year-old great grandma. His mom and grandma were able to watch Sunday’s game on the MLB Network, however.
“It was a special day,” Lutz said.
Lutz got the ball from a fan after the game, and he may have to explain to his friends back in Germany that baseballs don’t always have pink laces. All of Major League Baseball used special balls Sunday in support of breast cancer awareness.
Some players also used pink bats. Mike Leake didn’t pitch, but he wore pink eye black. Brandon Phillips wrote, “Mama Lue 5-12-13,” on his pink cleats.
The Reds did all their mothers proud by completing the three-game sweep. They moved six games above .500 (22-16) for the first time.
Cincinnati also made up a game on St. Louis, which lost 8-2 to the Rockies. The Cardinals (23-13) lead the Reds by two games.
With Bronson Arroyo throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings, Lutz’s home run turned out to be more than enough. The Reds added runs anyway on an RBI groundout by Jay Bruce in the third and a pinch-hit home run by Xavier Paul in the seventh.
The Brewers scored their only run in the eighth against Jonathan Broxton. Alex Gonzalez scored on a passed ball.
But the big story of the day was the big German, who’s now hitting .316 in nine games (6-for-19) with five RBIs.
“We were just afraid to slap hands with him because he’s got some heavy hands,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Reds at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, FS Ohio, 700, 1410