CINCINNATI (AP) — Joey Votto ended the second-longest homer drought of his career with yet another Reds grand slam.
Votto homered for the first time in two months on Saturday, connecting for Cincinnati’s 11th slam — one shy of the NL record — and the Reds beat the San Diego Padres 7-2 in a game called because of rain in the top of the seventh inning.
The game started an hour early because of a foreboding forecast and was played in a steady rain that intensified with one out in the top of the seventh.
Votto connected off Robbie Erlin (3-6) during a seven-run second inning for his first homer since July 9. Votto had gone 36 games without a homer, not counting his long ball in the All-Star Game. He spent time on the disabled list with a sore knee during the span.
After hitting 36 homers last season, Votto has only 10.
“I didn’t know it was two months,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “I knew he’d been stuck on nine for a while.”
It was Votto’s second grand slam this season and the fourth of his career. Scott Schebler’s slam during a 12-6 win on Friday night set a franchise record of 10 in a season. The NL mark is 12 and the major league record is 14.
Erlin went three innings and gave up eight hits and seven runs, all in the second inning. He struggled to control his pitches in the rain.
“It wasn’t just one pitch in particular, it was all of them,” Erlin said.
Matt Harvey (7-8) allowed Eric Hosmer’s two-run homer and escaped a bases-loaded threat in the fourth. He fanned 10 in six innings, his highest strikeout total since he fanned 10 at San Diego on May 8, 2016, and his ERA rose to 4.87.
“You’re working on your routine and then your coach calls and says the game’s an hour and a half earlier,” Harvey said. “It was shocking, but you have to go out and deal with it.”
The teams were willing to move up the start time to squeeze in a game with unrelenting rain in the forecast through Sunday. A rainout would force the Padres to fly back from San Francisco on Sept. 27 for a makeup game between last-place teams, and then fly home to finish the season.
Sunday’s game was pushed back three hours to 4:10 p.m., when rain is forecast to ease.
“We would love, love, love to get these games in here the next couple days,” manager Andy Green said. “I think we’re all in the same boat here. I think everybody was willing to jump to give us that chance.”
The teams were coming off little rest. The Reds’ 12-6 win ended at 12:09 a.m. on Saturday because of a 2-hour, 37-minute rain delay.
The 1997 Braves and 2000 Cardinals hit 12 grand slams in a season, sharing the NL record. The 2000 Athletics and 2006 Indians hit 14 for the major league record. … The Reds’ 11 grand slams have been hit by Votto (two), Adam Duvall (two), Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suárez, Jesse Winker, starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, reliever Todd Lorenzen, Jose Peraza and Schebler.
NO IFS, ANDS OR BUNTS ABOUT IT
For the second game in a row, the Padres’ inability to field a bunt cost them. Harvey bunted on a sacrifice attempt in the second inning, but third baseman Wil Myers didn’t charge the ball, turning it into a single that set up Votto’s grand slam. The Padres misplayed two bunts on Friday night during the 12-6 loss.
“Wil’s learning a brand new position,” Green said. “This guy’s never played third base. There has to be some measure of patience and understanding.”
WALK THIS WAY
Votto drew his 100th walk of the season. It’s his sixth season with at least 100 walks, tying Joe Morgan’s club record.
Reds: Scooter Gennett was out of the lineup with a sore right thigh. He missed Thursday’s game and went 0 for 5 on Friday.
Padres: Jacob Nix (2-3) is to make his sixth career start. He gave up five runs — matching his career high — during a 7-3 loss to Colorado last Sunday.
Reds: Tyler Mahle (7-9) is slated for his first start since being called up from Triple-A. Mahle gave up six runs and lasted only 1 2/3 innings of a 10-4 loss to Washington on Aug. 2, prompting the demotion.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports