When Tyler Naquin launched a go-ahead, three-run homer in the ninth inning Tuesday, the Target Field crowd of 19,187 went silent and the 30-some people in the Cincinnati Reds dugout erupted.
It wasn’t just an important homer in the Reds’ 10-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins. It bailed out the bullpen from another meltdown and rescued the Reds at the end of their nine-game road trip.
After Wade Miley pitched seven solid innings, the Reds’ bullpen coughed up a five-run lead in the eighth. They had already lost five consecutive games and here was more bad news.
Then Naquin, who reached base in all five of his plate appearances, blasted a 420-foot homer to the opposite field off Twins reliever Hansel Robles.
“It’s picking up the boys,” Miley said. “That’s what we do. There are going to be games that happen like that. We’ve done it, really, this whole trip. It’s huge. Right then and there, we knew we needed to answer back.”