The Reds lineup found its way out of the barren wilderness it had been in of late, and the hitters could enjoy the moment on Sunday afternoon.
It wasn’t just that the Reds put together some big hits and home runs for a 12-4 win over the Rays that avoided a three-game sweep. It was that Cincinnati kept its foot on the gas and kept adding more runs to keep its opponent well behind.
“It does send the right message to the players,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We’ve had a couple of games where we scored early this season and we’ve given the runs back and we haven’t been able to create the separation that we wanted, especially against the Cardinals. It’s important. We did a nice job of that today. Guys were terrific in their at-bats. We didn’t give a lot of at-bats away.”
“There’s no doubt about it. We’ve got talent, and guys that can hit,” said Chris Heisey, who had the biggest add-on with a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning. “Today, we clicked. It’s going to happen. There are a lot of teams in the league that aren’t scoring runs. It’s early in the year. Everybody is getting adjusted. There are a lot of hits to come.”
“It was just a matter of time,” Tony Cingrani said. “We have some great hitters in our lineup. Today was that day they broke out of it.”
“He didn’t have the best control or the best stuff but he was able to make pitches when he needed to, which was important,” Devin Mesoraco said. “He was able to bear down. He was able to get outs with runners in scoring position. He threw the best that he could.”
Now 4-8, Cincinnati also had five defeats by a one-run margin. Price shook up the lineup before Saturday’s game and held a team meeting following a subsequent 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay. The 2012 Reds started out 4-8 before winning the National League Central with 97 wins.
“The key early in the season is not losing faith,” Price said. “To me, pressure is self induced. It’s a matter of keeping the faith. We understand this is a good team. Everyone in there knows it. I’m certain that the frustration becomes the biggest challenge for our club. It’s just a matter of going out there and understanding we have to play 162 games.
“We’re going to win a good bunch of games, but we’d like to start to see guys start to relax, and just be themselves and play the type of game they’re a capable of playing. This is an indication that we’re getting closer to that.”