Renteria hit his first homer since his World Series MVP performance, helping the Cincinnati Reds break out of their offensive slump and beat the Cleveland Indians 7-5 on Sunday, their only win of the season against their intrastate rival.
Renteria’s solo shot barely cleared the wall in right field and put the Reds up 7-2 in the fifth, putting the Reds in line for a breakthrough win. The Indians took five of six in the series, matching their best result. The Reds went 5-1 in 2008.
“That’s what we needed,” Renteria said. “It’s the same thing if you hit one like that or it goes 500 feet—they call it a home run. It’s always nice to hit one.”
Mike Leake(notes) (8-4) became the Reds’ first eight-game winner, matching his career high with eight strikeouts in six innings. Francisco Cordero(notes) pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.
Five players learned before the game that they’ll be headed to Arizona for the All-Star game next week—Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) and Chris Perez(notes), Cincinnati’s Joey Votto(notes), Brandon Phillips(notes) and Jay Bruce(notes). Instead of the stars, the reserves rallied Cincinnati to its win.
Renteria had a pair of hits, including his first homer in 130 at-bats this season. He hit three for the Giants last season, and two more in the World Series.
Cincinnati is delighted to be done with interleague play. The defending NL Central champions went only 6-12 against the American League, keeping them stuck a few games out of first place at the season’s midpoint.
“Thank you, Lord!” Phillips said. “I’m glad interleague is over because they roughed us up this year. We’re not playing to our potential, but I think we’ll be all right.”
The Reds have struggled to hit with runners on base. They stranded 12— seven in scoring position—during a 3-1 loss to Cleveland on Saturday, unable to get a clutch hit.
They put together a bunch of them on Sunday that went between fielders, over outstretched gloves and—in Renteria’s case—barely over the outfield wall. His solo homer in the sixth barely cleared the yellow padding atop the wall in right and made it 7-2.
It was another disappointing showing for Talbot, who was on the disabled list in May with a sore pitching elbow. In eight starts since returning, he is 1-5 and has allowed 31 earned runs in 40 2-3 innings.
“It’s usually the first inning that gets me,” said Talbot, who didn’t have a problem with it this time. “Once I get through that, I cruise. I’m not too sure what happened today.”
Since a brief demotion in May, Leake has been one of the Reds’ most consistent starters, going 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA in eight appearances. Shelley Duncan(notes) hit a two-run homer in the second, and Grady Sizemore(notes) had a two-run single in the sixth.
“I thought it was a pretty solid outing,” Leake said. “I gave up four runs, but I only gave up four hits. I was trying to keep them in (the game).”
Notes: The Indians lead the all-time series 39-36. … Cabrera is the first Indians SS to make the All-Star game since Omar Vizquel(notes) in 2002, Perez the first closer since Bob Wickman in 2005. … OF Travis Buck(notes) missed his second straight game with a tight left hamstring. … RH Fausto Carmona(notes) went on the 15-day DL with a strained right thigh, suffered during his tumble at first base on Saturday. Perez, who had been in Florida for his grandmother’s funeral, was activated off the bereavement list. … Renteria’s homer was the first by a Reds SS this season. It gave Renteria 900 career RBIs.