It took a few weeks but the Cincinnati Reds are finally playing like a complete team. After losing eight of their first nine games to start the second half, they have won six of their last nine including two straight from the Cleveland Indians. Using a solid outing from Mat Latos, and home runs from Zack Cozart and Kris Negron, the Reds took down the Indians 8-3 Wednesday evening at Great American Ballpark.
For the second straight game, the Reds offense collected double digit hits. After tallying 15 hits in Tuesday's win, the offense had 10 hits Wednesday.
"It reminds our guys of how good we can be offensively when we string together good, quality at-bats," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "And getting production at the bottom of the lineup, that was really the catalyst tonight. It's a beautiful thing."
Cincinnati opened the scoring in the third. Brayan Pena hit a one-out single and Negron reached base from one of his three hits before Cozart stepped up to bat. He took a 2-2 slider and crushed it down the left field line before striking the foul pole for his third homerun of the year.
"It feels really good not only to get some hits, but to get some extra-base hits," Cozart said. "I'm not a guy, at least early on in my career, that's hitting .300, but I've had my fair share of extra-base hits every year. And this year, it just seems like I haven't had any at all."
Two innings later, in the fourth, Pena collected another single before Negron launched his third homerun of the season on the first pitch of his at-bat.
"Any time you can contribute like that in a big win, especially with this push we're trying to make during this last part of the year, it feels great," Negron said.
The last three runs came in the seventh from a Cozart RBI-single and a Todd Frazier two-run double.
Latos, who was starting his 10th game of the year, had a strong outing going seven and two-thirds of an inning allowing three runs on six hits. Those three runs all came in the eighth inning.
"A lot of what helped today was a lot of strike one's for me," Latos said. "I tried to pound the zone down and keep it down, and getting strike one and going from there."
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