No Nick Senzel, no Jose Iglesias, no problem.
With Senzel and Iglesias not available to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon, their replacements, Jesse Winker and Jose Peraza, stepped up and stepped up high and mighty.
Both were major contributors as the Reds ripped into the Texas Rangers, 11-3, pushing their Sunday record to 3-9.
»ASK HAL: Are Reds living up to expectations?
Center fielder Senzel was absent after fouling a ball off his left eye Saturday night, a wound that required four stitches to his eyelid. Shortstop Iglesias is on a three-day paternity leave.
Winker took over center field for Senzel and had a memorable Father’s Day. Wearing black patches under his eyes on which was printed, “I love you, dad,” Winker set a career high with five RBIs. He contributed a two-run double, a two-run home run, his first homer since May 18, and a run-scoring single.
With his father, Joe, seated in the stands, Winker added to his largesse with a single in the sixth, his career-best fourth hit.
Peraza took over shortstop and drove in two runs with a pair of sacrifice flies and added a double.
And those two received plenty of help as the Reds avoided a three-game sweep by the Rangers.
Yasiel Puig chipped in with two infield hits and a down-range two-run home run deep over the center field fence, a 423-foot lightning bolt, his second home run in two days.
Josh VanMeter, receiving a rare start, singled twice, his first multi-hit game in the majors.
Texas starter Ariel Jurado entered the game with a 4-2 record and a 3.02 earned run average and took a major whipping. He faced 21 Reds and 11 reached base.
Reds starter Sonny Gray gave up a home run in the first inning to Shin-Soo Choo. But the Reds provided him with a 3-1 lead in the second, highlighted by Winker’s two-run double.
Gray couldn’t hold it. He gave up a two-run game-tying home run to Hunter Pence in the third.
The Reds then piled it on. They scored four in the fourth and three in the fifth. Gray left after five innings with a line of three runs, five hits, one walk and eight strikeouts. But he earned the victory, lifting his record to 3-5.
The Reds finished with 14 hits, six for extra bases. That included a triple by Gray.
Even with the big uprising, the Reds remain last in the National League Central because the Pittsburgh Pirates also won.
The degree of difficulty for the Reds will be at its highest the next three days when they host the Houston Astros and face their three best pitchers — Wade Miley, Justin Verlander and Derrick Cole.
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