Rockies hand Reds seventh straight loss
CINCINNATI -- Bud Black managed Alexi Amarista for four seasons in San Diego and thought his versatility in the field was worth the Colorado Rockies signing the utility man to a free-agent contract in January.
Black, the Rockies’ manager, coined Amarista’s nickname “Little Ninja” and often spoke of his “sneaky pull pop” from the left side.
With Trevor Story on the disabled list, Amarista is getting a chance to showcase his defensive skills. Oh, and that sneaky power.
On Friday night, Amarista hit a three-run homer and Nolan Arenado added a two-run shot to lift the Rockies to a 12-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
“I think it’s really funny,” Amarista said of Black’s “sneaky pull pop” comments. “I just try to barrel balls up, but that’s not really my game. I just try to make solid contact.”
Amarista’s second home run of the season, a majestic three-run shot to right in the sixth inning, sparked a 12-run, 16-hit outburst. Amarista tied his career high with four RBIs and collected three hits.
“I’ve seen that from him before,” Black said. “We felt he was a good fit. You can put him anywhere on the field and he’s not going to hurt you. He’s capable of nights like this (with the bat). He got one up in the air.”
Tyler Anderson (3-4) picked up the victory after allowing two runs and four hits through six innings. He had seven strikeouts, one shy of a season high.
“Good fastball life, good change,” Black said. “Nice job mixing up his delivery.”
Colorado (27-16) owns the second-most wins in the major leagues and improved to 14-6 on the road.
Eugenio Suarez and Jose Peraza homered for Cincinnati (19-22), which after an encouraging start to the season has lost a season-high seven straight.
Reds starter Lisalverto Bonilla (0-2) seemingly had overcome a rough first inning. He was cruising when he was hit on his throwing hand while attempting a bunt in the fifth. Things unraveled for him after that.
In the sixth, Bonilla allowed three straight hits, including Amarista’s sky-high homer, to give the Rockies a 5-1 lead.
Bonilla said after the game that he wouldn’t use getting hit on the hand as an excuse. Reds manager Bryan Price said Bonilla insisted he was fine after being hit.
“I walked all the way down to first base, and (Bonilla) was telling (trainer) Steve Baumann, ‘No problem. No problem. No problem. I‘m good,'” Price said. “I can’t tell you that the runs he gave up were due to the hand.”
DJ LeMahieu’s two-run double off Wandy Peralta made the score 7-1. Arenado followed with his 11th homer to give the Rockies a 9-1 lead.
Colorado sent 14 batters to the plate in the sixth and collected nine hits leading to eight runs, the most the Reds had allowed in an inning since July 26, 2015, also against the Rockies at Coors Field.
Cincinnati scored twice in the seventh off right-hander Jordan Lyles when Billy Hamilton doubled in a run, then raced around third and scored when Ian Desmond’s errant throw home skipped away from catcher Tony Wolters.
Peraza’s first home run of the season was a two-run shot off Lyles in the eighth, making the score 10-6. But Mark Reynolds’ two-run single in the ninth got those two runs right back for Colorado.
Bonilla had a rough first inning, allowing two runs and three hits. He also hit a batter.
The Rockies could have done more damage but settled for Reynolds’ bloop RBI single to right with the bases loaded and Carlos Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0.
Bonilla put the first inning behind him and allowed just one hit in the next four innings, with two walks and two strikeouts.
Anderson, the Rockies’ first-round selection in 2011, allowed two hits through four innings, both by Suarez, who hit a towering solo homer to left in the fourth to cut the deficit to 2-1. It was his eighth homer of the season.
Cincinnati had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, but Anderson struck out Hamilton, and Patrick Kivlehan was caught stealing at third for an inning-ending double play.
“We talk about stringing together good at-bats, and that’s what we did tonight,” Black said. “We squared balls up and put a big number on the board. Hitting became contagious.”
NOTES: Rockies SS Trevor Story began a minor-league rehab assignment for Triple-A Albuquerque. ... Reds C Devin Mesoraco is expected back in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He struck out as a pinch-hitter, his first appearance since Sunday because of a hamstring injury. ... Reds RHP Tim Adleman is expected to make Saturday’s scheduled start after leaving his last outing with neck tightness. ... Cincinnati’s seven-game losing streak is its longest since an 11-game skid in May 2016.