Tapia finishes single shy of cycle, Rockies beat Reds 5-3
AP Sports Writer
DENVER — Raimel Tapia finished a single shy of the cycle and didn’t even need to get dirty.
He’s just a stand-up player.
The rookie left fielder hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth as part of his big night, Charlie Blackmon lined a solo shot after it was announced he would participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby and the Colorado Rockies beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Monday night.
“Stand-up triple. Stand-up double. Stand-up homer,” manager Bud Black cracked of Tapia. “Tonight was ‘Tap Time.’”
Just in time, too, with the Rockies returning home following a forgetful 1-8 trip.
“Regardless of how we’ve played of late, everyone is in a good spot,” right-hander Jeff Hoffman said. “There doesn’t need to be a dramatic change in the way we go about our game plan.”
Especially for Hoffman (5-1), who nearly collected as many hits at the plate (two) as he surrendered on the mound (four). He went seven effective innings, with his only hiccup back-to-back homers to Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto in the sixth. Hoffman’s run-scoring double in the second was his first major league RBI.
“I expect a lot from Jeff,” Black said. “That was a good game.”
Hoffman turned the ball over to the bullpen, where Jake McGee pitched the eighth and recently named All-Star Greg Holland threw a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 28 chances. Holland broke the team mark for most saves before the All-Star break, surpassing Huston Street’s mark in 2011.
Cincinnati righty Luis Castillo (0-1) went 5 2-3 innings and allowed four runs. He also struck out eight.
“They made really good contact on the good pitches I made. There’s nothing I can do about it,” Castillo said through a translator.
Tapia filled in for left fielder Ian Desmond, who went on the 10-day disabled list Monday with a strained right calf. The 23-year-old Tapia had a triple in the second, double in the third and a homer in the sixth that just cleared the fence in right field. He had a chance for the fourth cycle at Coors Field this season in the eighth, but struck out.
“Trying to keep my swing the same, stay in my zone. Get a pitch and didn’t work out for me,” Tapia said through a translator of needing a single.
The leadoff-hitting Blackmon hit his 18th homer of the season in the fourth. He’s set to join a Home Run Derby field that includes Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who will defend his title in his home ballpark.
“There are a lot of guys that I would’ve expected to get picked before me,” Blackmon said. “I may not be the most obvious of choices to put in there. I’m glad to be there.”
Reds: OF Billy Hamilton (stiff lower back) wasn’t in the starting lineup. “We’re hoping that he’s ready in the next day or two to take on his full-time regular responsibilities,” manager Bryan Price said. … The Reds have a schedule they’re following with SS Zack Cozart as he returns from a strained right quadriceps. He entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and grounded out.
IN A GROOVE
Votto kept up his torrid hitting with a towering homer. It was the 1,500th major league hit of his career.
“It’s vintage Joey at this point,” Price said of his All-Star player. “I’m happy as anything that he made the All-Star (team) and I hope he gets to play enough to where that people who don’t get to see the Reds play a lot get a chance to see him and how he handles himself.”
THIS & THAT
Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu had three singles. … Slumping outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was reinstated from the disabled list Monday after being out since June 26 with a strained right shoulder. He went 0 for 4 with an RBI on a fielder’s choice.
The Rockies are hoping to add a fifth All-Star in first baseman Mark Reynolds, who’s a Final Vote candidate.
“I told Reynolds I was going to vote for him,” Black said.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (0-2, 27.00 ERA) tries to get on track in his third start of the season Tuesday. He’s allowed 14 runs over 4 2/3 innings in his previous two outings.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.84 ERA) had two hits, including his first major league homer, the last time he faced the Reds in Cincinnati on May 21. He also earned the win.
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