CINCINNATI – Dazzling rookie Elly De La Cruz hit for the cycle, Joey Votto launched tying and go-ahead homers and the Cincinnati Reds extended their winning streak to 12 games Friday night with an 11-10 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
In a wild matchup of National League division leaders, Cincinnati erased an early 5-0 deficit and halted Atlanta's eight-game winning streak.
The Reds' winning streak is tied for the second-best in franchise history, matching the 1939 and 1957 teams for the club's longest since 1900.
De La Cruz became the first Cincinnati player in 34 years to hit for the cycle. He completed it by the sixth inning with a triple that gave him four RBIs.
The cycle was the seventh in team history, fifth since 1900 and first since Eric Davis accomplished the feat against San Diego on June 2, 1989.
De La Cruz wears the same No. 44 that Davis did.
“I can’t really put it into words right now," De La Cruz said through a translator. "I’m happy and excited. It is fortunate Eric Davis is one of the legends of this game and in Cincinnati, too. Sure enough he let me wear that jersey No. 44 and to be the (first) one since him to do that, is incredible.”
Many in the sellout crowd of 43,086 at Great American Ball Park chanted “Elly! Elly!" The big turnout came two months after a record low for attendance at the stadium of 7,375 on April 17.
“I think this might be the best regular-season game that I’ve been a part of," Reds manager David Bell said. "I think a lot had to do with the atmosphere in the ballpark. Both teams played a great game. They came up short, but it showed the kind of team they are. It took a lot of great performances to win that game.”
The Reds overcame a five-run Braves first inning against Luke Weaver, two homers by Matt Olson and drives from Travis d’Arnaud, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Austin Riley to earn their major league-best 27th comeback victory of the season. Three of Atlanta's homers were hit in the eighth.
“It was … wow,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Both teams are banging the ball all over the place. I don’t ever come in here feeling any lead is safe, and when we were down, I kind of still had a good feeling with a couple of at-bats left. Things are going good for them. They’re playing extremely well. We couldn’t put up a couple of zeros in the middle.”
Alex Young (3-0), the third of seven Cincinnati pitchers, got two outs for the win. Alexis Díaz pitched a hitless ninth for his 21st save in 21 tries.
Collin McHugh (3-1) took the loss.
Votto produced his 19th career multi-homer game in just his fourth game since being activated Monday from the injured list. He tied it in the fourth and gave the Reds a 9-7 lead with his three-run shot in the fifth. The six-time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP missed roughly four months of games over two seasons while recovering from surgery last August.
His no-doubters covered a combined 843 feet.
“This is the most enjoyable version of baseball, I think I’ve ever seen,” Votto said. "I’m hitting sixth on this team, happily. I get to watch the guys in front of me. I’m not in the way. I get to watch these guys in front of me zoom around the bases. It’s not just because of the winning streak, either. I’d say that if our record was different.”
Jake Fraley, De La Cruz and Votto homered against rookie starter AJ Smith-Shawver, who blew a 5-0 lead.
The Braves sent nine batters to the plate in the 18-minute top of the first, giving them consecutive five-run innings. They also scored five times in the 10th inning of a 5-1 win at Philadelphia on Thursday.
Weaver threw 43 pitches in the inning. He lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs with one walk and three strikeouts.
Smith-Shawver also gave up five runs over 3 1/3 innings.
“I just think I could’ve made a few more pitches," the right-hander said. “It kind of (stinks) that I couldn’t go deep in the game to help out the bullpen. Just things to learn from, obviously.”
Cincinnati released outfielder Wil Myers, who was designated for assignment Tuesday after being activated from the injured list. An 11-year veteran, the 32-year-old Myers had been sidelined with a kidney stone and a left shoulder sprain.
NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT
Weaver has no-decisions in his last seven starts since a 7-6 win over the Mets on May 9.
Reds: De La Cruz and left fielder Spencer Steer avoided injury after a slight collision as the third baseman was catching Olson’s foul popup near the wall. … RHP Derek Law (right flexor mass strain) threw a bullpen and is expected to pitch Sunday for Class A Dayton on a rehab assignment.
Reds RHP Graham Ashcraft (3-5) is expected to come off the 15-day injured list (bruised left calf) and make his first start since June 8 on Saturday. He will be opposed by Braves LHP Jared Shuster (4-2).