Ashcraft shuts down D-backs, Reds power way to 14-8 win
CINCINNATI (AP) — Graham Ashcraft pitched six shutout innings to extend his impressive debut run, Joey Votto led an early homer barrage and the Cincinnati Reds beat the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks 14-8 Tuesday night.
Votto hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Brandon Drury and Matt Reynolds added two-run drives within the first three innings for a 9-0 lead. The advantage stayed there until the game was delayed 63 minutes by rain after seven innings.
Tommy Pham contributed a solo homer and Tyler Stephenson a two-run blast in a five-run eighth for the Reds that ended with third baseman Jake Hager coming in to get the final out.
Ashcraft retired his first 10 batters after rotation-mate Hunter Greene retired his final 20 in Monday’s 7-0 victory. Pavin Smith singled off Ashcraft with one out in the fourth but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Ketel Marte followed with a clean single to end Arizona’s slump.
“I feel great,” Ashcraft said. “There is really not much more I can ask for. I’ve got guys making great plays behind me. I have a lot of support between family and teammates. I’m very happy with the things I’ve been doing and very grateful.”
Ashcraft (3-0) lowered his ERA to 1.14 over his first four major league starts while allowing three hits with four strikeouts.
“I’d like to think you can expect these kind of outings every time,” Ashcraft said. “I’m really just out there, giving it all I’ve got and throwing the dickens out of it.”
Ashcraft logged 11 groundball outs.
“It is really fun watching Graham pitch because he really is enjoying the competition,” manager David Bell said. “He takes it very serious and knows how tough it is but finding a way to enjoy what he’s doing.
“In some ways he gets better each time he goes out. The fastball is sinking and cutting. His slider has improved. He is throwing it a little bit harder, making it tough to bat.”
Reynolds added a two-run single in the eighth to finish with four RBIs in the Reds’ biggest win since a 20-5 romp over the Cubs on May 26 in Cincinnati.
The Diamondbacks have lost four straight games and five of six. They hadn’t scored in 26 innings until Geraldo Perdomo’s first career home run — a grand slam — and Marte’s solo shot in the eighth. Perdomo finished with five RBIs.
The Reds rocked left-hander Tyler Gilbert, recalled from the taxi squad to make the start, with five hits and seven runs, six earned. Gilbert (0-3) walked two, struck out two and hit a batter in 1 2-3 innings.
“Poor command,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “His balls were just outside of the zone, and he wasn’t getting ahead. We got behind the 8-ball and never recovered.”
The Diamondbacks will add recently signed LHP Dallas Kuechel to their taxi squad on Wednesday, Lovullo said after Tuesday’s game. Keuchel has thrown a couple of bullpen sessions at the team’s Salt River facility. Arizona on Tuesday made official the signing of the 2015 American League Cy Young Award-winner to a minor league contract after he was released by the White Sox.
Nick Senzel led off Cincinnati’s first by reaching on catcher’s interference for the fifth time this season and 11th time in his career.
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Almora’s assist was Cincinnati’s league-leading 13th outfield assist of the season. The Reds went into the game tied with the Cardinals for the lead. Cleveland went into Tuesday leading the majors with 15.
Diamondbacks: LF David Peralta was back in the starting lineup after leaving Monday’s game with back spasms. … RHP Humberto Castellanos (strained right elbow) remains in the treatment phase. “We’re talking in terms of weeks,” Lovullo said. “I don’t know exactly how long.”
Reds: LHP Nick Lodolo (lower right back) left Tuesday for Goodyear, Arizona, where he’s scheduled to pitch one live batting practice session and one game before returning to Cincinnati for evaluation. … RHP Lucas Sims (lower back) was supposed to throw a bullpen on Tuesday, but discomfort on Monday prompted a delay.
Diamondbacks: RHP Merrill Kelly (4-3) is 3-1 in five road starts this season.
Reds: LHP Mike Minor (0-1) makes his second start of the season since coming off the injured list (left shoulder strain).