MILWAUKEE (AP) Elly De La Cruz became the first Reds player since 1919 to steal second, third and home in the same inning, the latest electrifying play from the franchise-changing rookie, and Cincinnati beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5 on Saturday.
De La Cruz broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single off Elvis Peguero, then made the reliever's life miserable in a span of two pitches. He stole second on a 1-1 offering from Peguero (1-2). On the next pitch, De La Cruz swiped third without a throw.
The rattled reliever caught the ball from catcher William Contreras in front of the mound and turned his back as he walked slowly toward the rubber. Pausing only to put his helmet back on, De La Cruz walked down the third base line, broke into a sprint and easily beat Peguero's rushed throw to the plate.
“I kept checking on him, checking on him to see if he was going to go back or if he was checking on me or anything like that,” De La Cruz said through a translator. “When I saw him walk back to the mound, he was at kind of at a slow pace. He didn’t look back over there at third, so I decided there to go.”
De La Cruz bounced up in jubilation and skipped toward the dugout, leaping to high-five his teammates. After Joey Votto made the last out, Peguero was booed off the field.
De La Cruz became the second player since the expansion era started in 1961 to steal three bases in a single plate appearance. Minnesota’s Rod Carew achieved the feat on May 18, 1969, with Harmon Killebrew at the plate in the third inning with Detroit’s Mickey Lolich on the mound and Bill Freehan behind the plate.
The last player to steal all three bases in the same inning was Miami's Jon Berti in a 3-0 win at the New York Mets on Aug. 25, 2020.
“It's on all of us really, on all of us,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It was a good baseball by him. We weren't aware enough, like, all over the place, on the field, in the dugout, everywhere.”
Reds manager David Bell could only marvel at the rookie's derring-do.
“It's so much fun to watch, so much fun to be part of,” Bell said. “It's one of those plays that's so rare, especially on two pitches to steal a base like that. The speed is obvious, just elite speed like maybe we've never seen, but also how heads-up it was.”
The surging Reds, who were 27-33 when De La Cruz was promoted from the minors on June 6, improved to 23-7 since and expanded their lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central to two games. They extended their major league lead in come-from-behind wins to 33.
“It was almost like he was on a mission to score,” Bell said.
De La Cruz has 16 stolen bases in 30 games and went 2-for-5 Saturday to improve his batting average to .328. The shortstop's only blemish was a nonchalant toss to second for the final out, but the play withstood a replay challenge.
“It was kind of close. I didn't like how I let that happen,” De La Cruz said. “Obviously, I like that we got the out to end the game, but I wish it could have turned out a little bit better.”
Lucas Sims (3-1) threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, Jonathan India's sacrifice fly in the ninth gave the Reds a three-run lead, and All-Star Alexis Diaz got the last three outs for his 26th save in 27 chances.
Willy Adames homered twice for the Brewers, a solo shot in the first and a two-run blast, his team-leading 16th, in the third.
Votto hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Milwaukee starter Colin Rea, and Will Benson hit a solo shot in the third for Cincinnati, which set a franchise record of 22 consecutive games with a homer. The 1956 Reds went deep in 21 straight games.
Brice Turang’s run-scoring triple in the fourth off Reds starter Luke Weaver made it 5-4. Cincinnati's Jake Fraley tied the game 5-all with an RBI double in the fifth.
Milwaukee's Christian Yelich extended his hitting streak to eight straight games with a run-scoring double in the third.
Counsell was ejected in the top of the ninth after plate umpire John Tumpane called a balk on Abner Uribe. Third baseman Brian Anderson was also tossed.
BURNES AN ALL-STAR
Milwaukee RHP Corbin Burnes (7-5, 3.94 ERA) was named to the NL All-Star team for the third straight year, replacing Atlanta RHP Spencer Strider, who will not be available to pitch in the game.
The Reds selected the contract of RHP Michael Mariot, optioned RHP Tony Santillan to Triple A-Louisville and designated OF Henry Ramos for assignment. ... The Brewers recalled Uribe from Triple-A Nashville, designated RHP Tyson Miller for assignment, reinstated RHP Jason Alexander (right rotator cuff) from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Nashville, and sent RHP Jack Cousins (right shoulder) to the Rookie ACL Brewers on a rehab assignment.
LHP Wade Miley (5-2, 3.36 ERA) starts for the Brewers in Sunday's series finale. The Reds had not announced a starter.
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