CINCINNATI (AP) — Nearly a month on the injured list left Tucker Barnhart feeling blue.
A red-hot return has him back on track.
Barnhart hit two of Cincinnati’s five home runs, Aristides Aquino included one among his three hits and came up with a clutch catch as the Reds beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-4 on Tuesday night to complete a sweep of their two-game interleague series.
José Iglesias hit a two-run homer and Eugenio Suárez added a solo shot, helping Cincinnati overcome home runs by Justin Upton and Mike Trout and send the Angels to their sixth consecutive loss, matching their season-worst losing streak.
Barnhart, who spent 22 games on the IL, hit solo shots into the right field seats in the sixth and eighth innings for his first career multi-homer game, giving him eight homers this season and three in the last three games. He is hitting .393 (11-for-28) with at least one hit in seven of the nine games he’s played in since coming off the injured list on July 26.
“I was in a bad place mentally,” said the Reds catcher, sidelined with a strained right oblique. “I’m in a good place mentally. I’m having fun again. Team’s playing well. I look for good pitches to hit. There were a couple balls out over the plate in spots that I was looking for. I just try to help the team any way I can.”
Cincinnati hit five home runs in a game for the fourth time this season and first since May 4 against San Francisco.
Anthony DeSclafani (7-6) allowed five hits and four runs with three walks and five strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings to collect the win, the Reds’ third straight and fourth in five games.
“We’re playing good baseball,” said bench coach Freddie Benavides, who managed the last six games during David Bell’s suspension. “Everybody’s contributing — six different guys with RBIs. Down 3-0, we battled and came back to tie it. We’re confident in the starting rotation. Really good back end of the bullpen.”
Amir Garrett had three strikeouts in 1 2-3 innings. Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson and Lucas Sims each recorded an out in an eighth inning delayed 54 minutes by rain.
Aquino went deep into right-center field to make a backhand catch of pinch-hitter Kole Calhoun’s bases-loaded two-out bid for extra bases in the eighth.
“I thought it had a chance,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “We spent everything we had in that inning trying to get back into it.”
Upton hit a three-run homer in the first. The Reds answered against José Suarez with Eugenio Suárez’s solo homer and Iglesias’s game-tying two-run drive, both on changeups.
“In my last outing, I had a better feel for it, and I was throwing it more for strikes,” Suarez said about the pitch.
Aquino started Cincinnati’s three-run fifth with a shot to center field for his second homer since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. DeSclafani and Nick Senzel added RBI singles for a 6-3 lead.
Suarez (2-3) set season highs by giving up six runs and 10 hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings. The Angels rookie left-hander is winless in seven starts since his last win on June 15.
Late-inning lineup changes left Albert Pujols playing third base for the first time since 2015.
Suarez’s 11th first-inning home run of the season snapped a tie with Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich and Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz for the major league lead in first-inning home runs.
Iglesias successfully stole second base in the fourth inning, but thought he’d been called out and hopped up to head back to the dugout, only to be tagged out for real as he dove back to the bag.
The Reds added RHP Kevin Gausman to the 25-man roster on Tuesday after claiming him off waivers from Atlanta on Monday. They optioned LHP Wandy Peralta to Triple-A Louisville.
Angels: RHP Noé Ramirez (viral infection) threw a bullpen on Tuesday and could be sent on a rehab assignment this weekend.
Reds: Aquino hit the padded wall in foul territory down the right-field line fielding Fletcher’s first-inning leadoff single, but he made the play and came up firing to second. Aquino stayed in the game.
Angels: LHP Dillon Peters (2-0) is coming off pitching 7 2-3 innings at Cleveland on Friday, the longest outing of his career and the longest by a Los Angeles pitcher this season.
Reds: LHP Alex Wood (1-0) is 3-2 with a 2.86 earned-run average in six career starts and three relief appearances against the Cubs.
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