Reds’ Joey Votto pushes homer total to 35 with two blasts vs. Pirates

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Sept. 28 (UPI) — Joey Votto inched closer to his career high for home runs in a season with two blasts in a Cincinnati Reds blowout of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Reds first baseman went 2 for 4 with four RBIs and two runs scored in the 13-1 victory Monday at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Votto, 38, pushed his season home run total to 35. He hit 36 in 2017 and homered a career-high 37 times during his MVP campaign in 2010. The Reds are 82-75 with five games left in the regular season.

The victory pushed the Reds winning streak to four games. They still trail the St. Louis Cardinals by 5.5 games for the second spot in the National League Wild Card standings.

“We haven’t been eliminated yet, so we’re still thinking about pulling off a miracle,” Votto told reporters.

All-Star outfielder Nick Castellanos gave the Reds a 1-0 lead with an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first. Votto stepped up to the plate for the next at-bat.

The veteran first baseman fouled off a fastball on the first offering of his exchange with Pirates starter Connor Overton. He went on to smash a 3-1 Overton fastball into the seats in left field for an opposite-field, two-run homer.

The 366-foot homer traveled 103.3 mph off Votto’s bat, according to Statcast.

Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart plated third baseman Eugenio Suarez with an RBI single later in the inning. the Reds took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth.

Castellanos increased the lead to five runs with another RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth. Votto settled in for the next at-bat against Pirates relief pitcher Cody Ponce.

The left hander started that exchange with a curveball outside the strike zone. He then worked the count full. Votto smacked Ponce’s eighth pitch of the exchange to right field for a 466-foot, two-run bomb.

Suarez hit a 409-foot solo homer off Ponce three pitches later for an 8-0 lead.

The Pirates scored their lone run off a wild pitch in the top of the fifth. Castellanos hit his 33rd homer of the season in the bottom of the sixth. That 407-foot, three-run shot came off Pirates relief pitcher Kyle Keller.

Reds second baseman Jonathan India hit a 440-foot, two-run homer off Pirates reliever Shelby Miller in the bottom of the seventh for the final runs of the night.

India went 4 for 5 with four runs scored and two RBIs. Castellanos went 1 for 2 with five RBIs and a run scored. Suarez went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk.

Reds starter Reiver Sanmartin allowed five hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings to earn his first win this season. Overton allowed six hits and four runs in one inning to drop to 0-1.

The Reds face the Chicago White Sox at 8:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

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