CINCINNATI (AP) — Wil Myers’ slow start in a Cincinnati Reds uniform is now a distant memory.
The 11-year veteran, who signed with the Reds in December, went 4 for 5 with two home runs and five RBIs on Saturday, and the Reds rode a stout pitching performance by Graham Ashcraft to a 13-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
“It’s great to come out on the right side of one of those games, for sure,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “A lot of good things happened. We caught some breaks. But you create your own breaks, too. It starts with Graham and his start.”
Ashcraft (2-0, 1.42 ERA) allowed just four hits in six scoreless innings to stay perfect on the young season.
“I feel like I’m making progress and going in the right direction,” Ashcraft said. “I mean, mechanically, there’s still a couple things that we need to tweak and keep pounding at, but pitch-wise, we had some really good sliders coming on, which made me really happy. But, to me, the biggest takeaway today is just how good the two-seam was. I was able to get the right action off of it, pound the zone with it and get good swing and misses. That’s a big plus. Just need to carry it over to the next outing.”
The Reds (6-8) have now played six of its first 14 games against the Phillies (5-10). The two clubs split the six meetings.
Myers tagged Philadelphia starter Matt Strahm (1-1) with a home run in the second inning to put Cincinnati on the board first. The solo shot to left field marked Myers’ first of the season.
Strahm was pulled in the third after throwing just 67 pitches. Strahm had runners on second and third with two outs and Myers coming to the plate.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Strahm cut his thumb on his third warmup pitch going into the third inning.
“He gets it every once in a while,” Thomson said. “He threw too many pitches that inning. I didn’t want to take a chance. … His pitch count was just too much for me considering the thumb.”
With Strahm gone, Myers took the first pitch he saw from reliever Andrew Bellatti 401 feet to center field to put the Reds ahead 4-0.
“It was just one of those things where I got some good pitches early in the count and I was able to put some good swings on them,” Myers said. “I’ve been working on some things in the cage, and was just able to get some good pitches today.”
After fouling a pitch off his foot, Jonathan India made it a 5-0 game on a double that scored José Barrero who reached on a walk and then stole second.
Myers brought home another runner in the fifth on an RBI-double to left. Myers’ damage this time came against reliever McKinley Moore. The two-base hit jump-started a three-run inning for the Reds.
Cincinnati piled on five more runs in the eighth. Two of them came on a base hit by Barrero that scored Myers and Nick Senzel.
Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a line-drive double to center field to start the day. It was Stott’s only hit.
JACKIE ROBINSON DAY
Every team around Major League Baseball on Saturday celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. The Phillies and Reds were no different.
Logos honoring Robinson, the man who broke baseball’s color barrier 76 years ago, lit up the video boards at Great American Ball Park and rested on the sides of the caps of every player, coach and manager. Every person in uniform also wore Robinson’s retired No. 42.
“It’s incredible that we celebrate someone that had so much courage,” Bell said before the game. “It’s a reminder to always do what you believe in and do what’s right.”
Thomson echoed Bell’s sentiment.
“I think it’s one of the greatest stories ever about courage, persistence and toughness,” he said. “To go through what he went through for so many people. He changed the world forever.”
Phillies: 3B Edmundo Sosa left the game with what the team called “lower-back discomfort.”
Bryce Harper continued to work his way back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November. Thomson said the two-time NL MVP has no restrictions on his swing and is “looking better every day” at first base. Harper hit in the cage Saturday and is scheduled to participate in a simulated game Tuesday, Thomson said.
Reds: RHP Connor Overton (right elbow strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list, paving the way for RHP Casey Legumina to make his MLB debut. Legumina pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three.
Reds RHP Luis Cessa (0-1, 7.00 ERA) is scheduled to face Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (0-2, 7.04 ERA) on Sunday in the finale of the four-game series.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports