McCoy: Reds romp over depleted White Sox

It started this way in the first inning — Will Benson blooped a ball to shallow left and he fell to the dirt between first and second but still reached second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly.

They could have saved a lot of time by stopping it right there because these were the 2-10 Chicago White Sox.

The game continued and the Cincinnati Reds coasted to an 11-1 win in Guaranteed Rate Field on Chicago’s south side, ending a two-game losing streak and climbing back above .500 at 7-6.

With Chicago’s normal second, third and fourth hitters of their batting order on the injured list, the lineup consisted of fly-swatters batting .083, .111, .149, .158, .200 and .209. And the .111 batter, Kevin Pillar, was batting clean-up.

The White Sox lineup was spiced with some familiar names, but in name only — Lelyn Sosa, not Sammy; Andrew Vaughn, not Mo or Greg; Korey Lee, not Derek; Martin Maldonado, not Candy.

And most of the journeymen in the lineup were closer to social security than voting age.

The Reds took full advantage with a 12-hit attack that featured back-to-back home runs by Elly De La Cruz and Tyler Stephenson, plus four walks to Jonathan India.

After the first-inning run, the Reds rid themselves of starter Chris Flexen with five runs in the third. All five came after there were two outs and nobody on.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand started the two-out uprising with a ground single to left. Spencer Steer walked. Jake Fraley grounded to second and Flexen missed the throw at first base. CES scored from second base.

De La Cruz singled in the first, making certain he had reached base at least once in all 13 games this season. Then in the third he unleashed another prodigious tape measure home run, a three-run 449-foot explosion deep into the right field stands.

Stephenson immediately followed De La Cruz’s lead with a much shorter home run, 362 feet the opposite way to right field, his first homer.

“I had a really good view from the side (the on-deck circle,” said Stephenson, talking about De La Cruz’s homer with Bally Sports Ohio. “I think he hit it about 110 or 111 (miles an hour).

“My first at bat I hit Freken’s fastball really good to center,” said Stephenson, expecting another fastball on a 3-and-2 count. “I had a good view of everything he’d shown. I took it the other way, something I’ve been trying to do. It’s good to get back to that approach and drive it that way.”

The Reds added a run in the sixth on Nick Martini’s triple into the right field corner and scored on Santiago Espinal’s sacrifice fly to make it 7-1.

Every member of the Reds lineup had at least one hit except for India, who walked a career-best four times.

His third walk came in the eighth after Stephenson walked and came before Will Benson walked — three walks to fill the bases.

CES singled for two more runs and the Reds led, 9-1.

Two more runs crossed the plate in the ninth on a two-run single by No. 9 hitter Espinal, who finished with three RBI.

The beneficiary of the Reds’ offense was left-hander Andrew Abbott and he breezed easily through the depleted White Sox lineup.

He is the first Reds starter to go seven innings, holding the Chisox to one run and four hits and he retired the last eight batters.

Emilio Pagan and Buck Farmer pitched a pair of perfect innings as the last 14 Chicago hitters went down in order.

“Really, everything was working well (for Abbott),” Stephenson said. “Curveball was able to land early and sometimes late when we needed it.

“We threw the change-up a little bit more today, something we talked about pre-game,” he added. “He threw some really good ones. And he had a good heater (fastball). It’s fun to catch him.”

Reds manager David Bell gave usual clean-up hitter Jeimer Candelario the night off, replacing him in the No. 4 spot with  Steer. He doubled, walked twice, and scored a run.

Nick Lodolo makes his season debut Saturday in the second game of the series.

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