CINCINNATI (AP) – Reds rookie Aristides Aquino homered in his first three at-bats, keeping up his prodigious power display and leading Cincinnati over the Chicago Cubs 10-1 Saturday night.
Aquino came up twice more with a chance to match the major league record for home runs in a game. He drew a four-pitch walk with nothing close to the plate, then struck out in his final at-bat.
Aquino has hit seven homers in his first 10 games, tying the big league mark set by Trevor Story in 2016.
With three more whiplash swings, the 25-year-old outfielder who struggled to escape the lowest levels of minor league ball became an overnight sensation in Cincinnati.
The 39,866 fans demanded a curtain call after Aquino hit solo shots off Kyle Hendricks (8-9) in the second and third innings, and then another off Dillon Maples in the fourth.
There have been 18 players to hit four homers in a game, a feat that’s never been achieved by a rookie. J.D. Martinez was the last to homer four times, on Sept. 4, 2017, for Arizona. Scooter Gennett homered four times for the Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 6, 2017.
Fans were on their feet and booed as Alec Mills walked in the sixth, throwing a breaking ball on a 3-0 count. Mills fanned Aquino on a low breaking ball to end the seventh.
Aquino has homered in four straight games, one shy of the team mark. The only other Reds rookie to homer in four straight was Eric Davis in 1984 – they share the same No. 44 and have a similar swing.
Aquino was called up to play right field when the Reds recently dealt fan favorite Yasiel Puig to the Indians. He spent six years at rookie or Single-A ball while struggling to hit, but a change that opened his stance helped him become an International League All-Star in line for his promotion.
The Reds hit six home runs overall. Eugenio Suarez hit his 32nd and Nick Senzel and Kyle Farmer also connected.
Sonny Gray (6-6) allowed two hits in six innings and singled home a pair of runs as the Reds piled up 18 hits.
Hendricks suffered his worst loss since returning from a sore shoulder on July 2. Hendricks gave up seven runs and a season-high 12 hits in only 2 2/3 innings, his shortest since he went the same distance against the Dodgers on June 27 last season.