The rookie shortstop is right on schedule.
Hardy hit his first grand slam as he set career highs with six RBI and four hits, and the Milwaukee Brewers had their best day at the plate in four years as they routed the Cincinnati Reds 14-5 Wednesday.
"It's just one of those things," said Hardy, who raised his overall average to .235. "I'm seeing the ball good and finding holes. The first half was the hardest struggle I've ever had. I'm a lot more comfortable now."
Hardy is hitting .308 since the All-Star break and has five of his six homers and 23 of his 42 RBI since then.
"We said all along that he would probably struggle in the first half and take off in the second half," manager Ned Yost said. "That's what's happened."
Brady Clark, Lyle Overbay, Chad Moeller and Geoff Jenkins also homered for Milwaukee, which scored its most runs since a 15-5 win over Arizona on Oct. 7, 2001. The Brewers tied their season high for home runs after being limited to one run in 10 innings of a 2-1 loss to the Reds on Tuesday.
"I guess we solved our tacking on problem," Yost joked.
Jenkins also singled and doubled, and Clark had three of the Brewers' 17 hits.
Chris Capuano (16-9) won for the third time in four starts, matching his season high with eight strikeouts. He allowed five runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Eric Milton (7-14) gave up two of the homers, raising his total to a major league-high 39, four shy of the career high he set last season.
"Again, I'm not getting it done," Milton said. "It's frustrating. I've been trying to figure it out all year. It's one of those things I can't explain. I'm embarrassing myself. I'd like to just crawl into a hole and forget what's happened."
Milton, who has lost 14 games in one year for the first time since he went 8-14 as a rookie in 1998, allowed six runs and 10 hits in three innings.
"It just really comes back to his command of the baseball," Reds interim manager Jerry Narron said. "He's making a lot of pitches right in the middle of the zone. He needs to be fine with his pitches and hit his spots. When he does that, he gets guys out."
Milwaukee (69-71) has its most wins in three seasons under manager Ned Yost and has 32 road victories, one more than last year. Cincinnati (64-75) was eliminated from contention in the NL Central.
Clark hit his sixth leadoff homer of the season and seventh of his career, and Milwaukee made it 5-0 in the second when Hardy hit an RBI double and Overbay followed with a three-run homer. Overbay's homer was his 17th of the season, one more than his total last year, and his first since July 26.
Hardy hit another RBI double in the third, Jenkins had a run-scoring single off Josh Hancock in the fourth, and Moeller homered leading off the sixth for an 8-3 lead.
Jenkins led off the sixth against Chris Booker with his 21st homer, and Hardy hit his slam to the opposite-field in right later in the inning for his sixth homer of the season.
"Those guys have been joking with me about not having any 'opp hop,"' Hardy said. "I think that's my first opposite-field homer in professional baseball."
- Jenkins's home run was his 10th at Great American Ball Park, breaking a tie with Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Aramis Ramirez and Sammy Sosa for the most by an opponent at the 3-year-old stadium.
- The Reds have given up five homers in a game five times on their new home field.
- The Brewers scored at least one run in each of their first seven innings for the first time in franchise history. They scored at least one run in each of their first six innings on Sept. 30, 1981, against Boston at Milwaukee.
- Reds RHP Joe Valentine left after getting hit in the back of his right hand by Billy Hall's line drive in the seventh. X-rays were negative, and he is day to day.