CINCINNATI (AP) — Derek Dietrich was describing his three-homer game for the media when Scooter Gennett walked past and put it in a slightly different perspective.
“Anybody can hit three, Derek,” said Gennett, who did him one better in 2017.
No, Dietrich’s latest big game didn’t set any records. But it extended one of the most unexpected home run tears by a Reds player in recent years.
Dietrich hit three homers — all two-run shots — and the Pittsburgh Pirates suffered yet another injury to their rotation Tuesday night as Cincinnati pulled away to an 11-6 victory.
“This is more than just a hot streak,” manager David Bell said.
Dietrich grounded out in his first at-bat and connected in the fourth off Jordan Lyles (5-2), who left after the inning with discomfort in his left hamstring. Dietrich then connected off Geoff Hartlieb in the fifth and again in the seventh for his first three-homer game.
After the third homer, the 13,824 fans at Great American Ball Park demanded a curtain call. Still holding his batting helmet, Dietrich emerged from the dugout and raised both arms.
He didn’t get another at-bat to try to match Gennett, who tied the major league record with four homers at Great American Ball Park on June 6, 2017.
Signed to a minor league deal in February with a chance to compete for a spot off the bench, Dietrich has gotten playing time with Gennett sidelined since spring training with a groin injury. His 17 homers set a career high, and 12 of his last 17 hits have been home runs.
“They let me myself,” Dietrich said. “They believe in me. They gave me an opportunity. That’s all I’ve ever needed along the way.”
Most of the damage has been against the Pirates, who have allowed eight of the homers.
“He’s hitting our mistakes extremely well,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The balls are not where we wanted them, and he’s clobbered them.”
Lyles had an awkward follow-through on a pitch in the fourth but completed the inning. The Pirates already are missing starters Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams. They’ve had 22 players on the injured list this season, with starter Chris Archer also missing time because of a sore thumb.
Now, there’s a chance Lyles will have to miss time as well.
“We’ve got the injury bug so far this year,” Lyles said. “Everybody knows it.”
With its seventh loss in nine games, Pittsburgh fell to 26-27, the first time the Pirates have been below .500 since May 3.
Lucas Sims (1-0) was called up pregame and struck out a career-high nine in 7 1/3 innings, the longest outing of his career. He gave up Kevin Newman’s grand slam in the eighth, the rookie’s first major league homer.
Dietrich is the 28th Reds player with at least three homers in a game. It’s the 35th time a Reds player has hit at least three.
Cincinnati rookie Nick Senzel extended his hitting streak to a career-best six games. Tucker Barnhart extended his to seven games. Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds has hit safely in seven straight.
The last-place Reds have been trying to dig out of their 1-8 start to the season. The win moved them to 26-29, the closest they’ve been to .500 since April 26.
The Pirates optioned right-hander Mitch Keller to Triple-A Indianapolis and recalled right-handed reliever Richard Rodriguez before the game. Keller made his major league debut Monday and took an 8-1 loss. The Reds optioned left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta to Triple-A Louisville to open a roster spot for Sims.
Pirates: Infielder Jung Ho Kang has started a rehab assignment with Indianapolis as he recovers from a strained left side.
Reds: Joey Votto was out of the lineup with tightness in his right hamstring, but could pinch hit. He aggravated it while running the bases on Monday. … Left-handed reliever Cody Reed sprained his left knee while throwing a pitch on Monday at Triple-A Louisville and won’t throw for 10 to 14 days.
Pirates: Steven Brault (1-1) makes his third start and ninth appearance of the season. He worked in relief Friday and threw 98 pitches. He’s given up eight earned runs in 7 2/3 innings of his two starts this season.
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (2-2) hasn’t gone more than four innings in any of his last three starts. He’s allowed 12 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings over that span.
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