CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds needed a lift after being swept in four games by the Giants, and Jesse Winker gave them that and more.
Winker hit three solo home runs while going 4 for 4, leading the Reds over the Milwaukee Brewers 9-4 on Friday night.
“I’m really at a loss for words,” Winker said. “I’m really not paying attention to statistics. Just having fun playing baseball.”
Tyler Naquin added a three-run homer as the Reds bounced back from a 19-4 drubbing by San Francisco on Thursday.
Naquin got things started with his 10th homer, a drive in the first inning off Adrian Houser (3-5).
“It was a great game after the Giants series,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Naquin’s home run set the tone.”
Winker connected for leadoff homers in the third and fifth off Houser. He hit his 11th homer of the season in the eighth, another leadoff drive against Josh Lindblom.
It was Winker’s first three-homer game. He has four multihomer games in his career, two this year.
“Winker is locked in,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s having a great season. He’s dangerous right now.”
This was the first three-homer game for a Reds batter since Eugenio Suarez on Sept. 5, 2020 at Pittsburgh. Winker is the 31st different player in Cincinnati history to homer three or more times in game, a feat that’s been accomplished 39 times overall by Reds players.
“He always had a reputation as a (good) hitter but he wants to be great,” Bell said. “To watch him mature right in front of you. It is really fun to watch.”
Winker took a curtain call after his third homer. As he took his spot in left field in the ninth, the fans gave him a standing ovation with chants of “MVP, MVP.”
“The fans were really, really cool,” Winker said. “It was like you dream it as a kid. It was very special. It is a night I will remember the rest of my life.”
Winker also singled, walked and scored four times, and is now hitting .356.
Reds starter Jeff Hoffman (3-3) battled through five innings, working around four walks and a bases-loaded jam in the second but allowed just one run and two hits.
Lorenzo Cain doubled and singled for Milwaukee and had a sensational diving catch in center to rob Tyler Stephenson of an extra-base hit in the seventh.
“You try not to back yourself into a corner and stick with your strengths,” Houser said, of his approach facing Winker. “He got the best of me tonight.”
Counsell believes 21-year-old shortstop Luis Urias is ready for some competition with the arrival of Willy Adames in a trade with the Rays. “He’s up for the challenge,” Counsell said. “Young players often have to prove themselves.” Urias went 1 for 3 with a double, walk and RBI on Friday, and is hitting .208 with a team-leading nine errors in 39 games. Adames, 25, has a career .254 batting average with 43 homers and 124 RBIs in 332 games. New players Adames and reliever Trevor Richards are expected to arrive in time for Saturday’s game.
Brewers: 2B Kolten Wong left the game after being hit on the right elbow by Lucas Sims’ pitch in the seventh. Daniel Robertson replaced him at second. X-rays were negative. “He’s just sore,” said Counsell. “We didn’t know if he could throw so we took him out as a precaution.”
Reds: OF/INF Nick Senzel was placed on the injured list with a left knee contusion. He also has been dealing with a left heel issue. “A few different things going on,” Bell said. “
Reds RHP Sonny Gray will be looking for his first victory in his seventh start since coming off the injured list with a mild back strain. He’ll be opposed by lefty Brett Anderson. Opponents are batting .292 off Anderson and the Brewers are 3-3 in his starts.
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