Trevor Bauer paused to share what he’d heard from a fan before he took the mound at Chase Field.
“He said, ‘You’re going to give it up early and often, Bauer. You still suck,'” Bauer recounted, then grinned a little. “So I just want to dedicate this to him. You stay strong, buddy.”
Whatever motivation there was from the moment, it worked. Eugenio Suárez homered twice in support of Bauer, who held his former team to one run on four hits in the Cincinnati Reds’ 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Suárez pulled into a tie for the major league home run lead at 47 with Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, and he matched Andrés Galarraga, who hit 47 in 1996, for the most homers in a season by Venezuelan.
The Reds, with two wins in their three-game series with Arizona, did more damage to the Diamondbacks’ fading playoff hopes.
The Diamondbacks’ seventh loss in eight games dropped them 5½ games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild card. They have scored 12 runs total in those eight games.
“Offensively, we aren’t getting it done right now. I wish I had a magic wand and I could just swing it over these guys and make it all go away,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I don’t know what is going on offensively. I really don’t.”
Bauer (11-12) lasted eight innings with nine strikeouts and a walk in his longest start with the Reds. The right-hander arrived in a trade with Cleveland at the deadline.
“Trevor, he was in complete control the whole game,” Reds manager David Bell said. “All the way to the very end, he had a great fastball.”
Bauer struck out the side in his final inning of work. Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 31st save.
“Adrenaline rush kicked in,” Bauer said.
The Reds went ahead 2-1 on back-to-back home runs from Josh VanMeter, his eighth, and Suárez, who hit his off the batter’s eye in center field.
Suárez drilled his second of the day a few feet to the left of where his first one landed.
Zac Gallen (3-6) was charged with three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two. Gallen has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his first 15 career starts, one of only two NL starters in history to do so.
“The biggest thing with him was I was behind the count every at-bat,” Gallen said of Suárez. “I made some pitches but he was ahead in the count, he didn’t have to offer at them but he got a pitch to hit and where he could do some damage.”
Wilmer Flores lined a 1-2 pitch from Bauer into right-center field to drive in Alex Avila from second base with two outs in the bottom of the third, giving Arizona the early lead. Flores has 9 RBIs in his last 13 home games.
The Reds got out of that inning with Aristides Aquino’s throw from right field to third base to tag Flores trying to take an extra base on Ketel Marte’s single.
Reds: IF Freddy Galvis wasn’t in the lineup because of a sore left knee. He left Saturday’s game in the seventh inning.
Reds: Cincinnati originally named Sonny Gray its starter in Chicago Monday against the Cubs, but after the game announced it will be RHP Kevin Gausman (3-8, 5.83 ERA), with Gray pushed back a day.
Diamondbacks: Arizona opens a three-game series against the Miami Marlins, with LHP Robbie Ray (12-8, 4.30) set to start Monday. Ray, who was bothered by a blister in his last start, has a four-game winning streak at home.
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