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 got to work making the reliever’s life miserable. He stole second. Then, on a 1-2 pitch from Peguero (1-2), he swiped third without a throw.
The rattled reliever caught the ball from his catcher 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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