CINCINNATI (CBSNewYork/AP) — Kluszewski. Robinson. Bench. Perez. Junior. All of them can just scooter on down the list of great Cincinnati slugfests.
A diminutive infielder has done all of them one better.
Scooter Gennett put on the greatest home run show in franchise history and ended the night grinning at the sheer improbability of it. The Cincinnati native hit four homers — only the 17th to do it in major league history — and matched the Reds record by driving in 10 runs during a 13-1 victory over the shell-shocked St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
“I was kind of laughing, to be honest with you,” Gennett said. “For a guy like me to do that is crazy — a little short of a miracle.”
With homers in his last four at-bats , Scooter became a slugger. Baseball’s Hall of Fame called, wanting his uniform from the historic night. He stripped from his cap to his cleats, which were still wet from a celebratory on-field soaking by teammates.
“It’s surreal, man, it really is,” Gennett said, wearing backup clothes after the others were whisked away. “I’m truly blessed. I’m from here, born here. Watching all those guys play when I was little. And to do something that’s never been done — I can’t put words on it.”
Try one: Unmatched.
No major leaguer had ever gotten five hits, four homers and 10 RBIs in a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Gennett’s 17 total bases also were a club record.
“He had a career night, a great night,” said Adam Wainwright (6-4), who gave up Gennett’s second career grand slam. “Guys do that now and then. He almost beat us by himself tonight.”
Sure did. And he was the most unlikely player on the roster to power his way into history.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound infielder was claimed off waivers from Milwaukee during spring training for a utility role. Some seasons, he barely hit four homers at all — he reached double-digits only once and had 38 career heading into the game.
And then, there was Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Gennett joined the Cardinals’ Mark Whiten as the only players with a grand slam among four homers in a game, according to Elias. Whiten did it in 1993 at the Reds’ old riverfront ballpark, driving in 12 runs that stand as the major league record.
Josh Hamilton was the last player to hit four home runs in one game, for Texas against Baltimore in May 2012. The last National League player to hit four home runs in one game was Shawn Green for the Los Angeles Dodgers against Milwaukee in May 2002.
“It’s amazing, especially since he’s not an everyday player for us,” manager Bryan Price said. “He’s got power, but four homers in one game? I don’t know what to tell you.
“It’s very emotional. It was an honor to witness that.”
Adding to the surprise: Gennett had just ended an 0-for-19 slump with a double on Monday night. By going 5 for 5 on Tuesday, he raised his batting average 32 points to .302.
Gennett got his big night started with an RBI single off Wainwright , who brought a long scoreless streak into the game but couldn’t handle a team that has hit him like no other. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings and gave up nine runs for just the third time in his career.
The last time? Also against Cincinnati in 2013.
Gennett’s grand slam in his next at-bat was the first Wainwright had allowed since 2012. Gennett then connected for a solo shot and a two-run homer off John Gant.
With the crowd of 18,620 on its feet in the eighth inning, Gennett hit a two-run shot off John Brebbia for a place in history and his second curtain call.
“My teammates were awesome the whole time,” Gennett said. “They made me know exactly what I needed to do and exactly how many homers I had at each point.”
Tim Adleman (4-2) gave up one run — on Stephen Piscotty’s homer — in seven innings, sending the Cardinals to their season-high fifth loss in a row. They’ve dropped eight of their last 10 overall.
Gennett is the seventh player to hit homers in four consecutive at-bats during a game, joining American Leaguers Carlos Delgado, Mike Cameron, Rocky Colavito and Lou Gehrig along with National Leaguers Mike Schmidt and Robert Lowe from 1894.
Wainwright’s streak of scoreless innings ended at 17 in the first inning. Wainwright fell to 9-11 career against Cincinnati with a 5.01 ERA.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (4-3) gave up only one run in six innings of a 7-5 win over the Reds at Busch Stadium on April 28. He is 9-4 career against Cincinnati.
Reds: RHP Bronson Arroyo (3-4) is coming off one of the best outings of his comeback season. He allowed only two runs in six innings of a 3-2 victory over Atlanta on Friday.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)