Duo only Reds to enjoy three career three-dinger games; all Tuesday blasts came on first pitch
By Robert Bondy
CINCINNATI -- Joey Votto on Tuesday night etched his name on a Reds list that previously featured only Johnny Bench.
Votto knocked three home runs against the Phillies to lead Cincinnati to an 11-2 victory and secure the three-game series at Great American Ball Park. The three-homer game was Votto's third of his career and catapulted him into the record books as one of only two Reds to ever have three career three-home run games -- with the other being Bench.
"It's very cliche to say it, but any time you're alongside a name like that, it's an honor, it's meaningful," Votto said. "I'm humbled by it. I'm certainly not in his class, but to do something that he's done before is meaningful to me."
The two previous three-home run games for Votto came on May 13, 2012, against the Nationals and May 7, 2008, against the Cubs.
Votto started the game with a walk in his first at-bat, then homered in his next three -- in the third, fifth and seventh -- to finish the night 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
Votto hit his first on an 83-mph changeup from Aaron Harang, a former Red and teammate of Votto, to center field. It was Votto's second in the month of June and got him rolling. Todd Frazier followed immediately with his 17th blast to complete a back-to-back effort.
Votto again homered to center field in the fifth inning, this time on an 89-mph fastball from Harang. The play was reviewed for fan interference, but the call was confirmed after a 1-minute, 25-second review. It was the fourth home run Harang had surrendered on the evening and gave Votto his first multi-home run game since April 10, when he hit two against the Cardinals in Cincinnati.
Votto completed his incredible night with his final home run in the seventh inning, a two-run shot to deep left field off Dustin McGowan.
Votto had a chance at a fourth home run in the eighth inning, but he grounded out against righty Jeanmar Gomez. Votto said with a laugh after the game that he was going for a fourth home run.
All of Votto's home runs came on the first pitch of the at-bat, something Harang noted after the game. Harang was impressed with Votto's ability to turn pitches out of the zone into dingers.
"Three homers on three pitches," Harang said. "First pitch a changeup down and away, then a first-pitch sinker down and away. The second one was even more ridiculous than the first one. It was down below his knees, and he hit it that way.
"When he really starts getting going, when he starts hitting the ball the opposite way -- balls down and away that are running away from him and he stays on them and drives them to left-center -- that's when he's really starting to get locked in."
Robert Bondy is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.