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Gomes crushes three homers to power Reds past Nationals

CBSSports.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- Jonny Gomes had hit three home runs in a game once before. This time meant more to him.

Gomes homered in his first three at-bats to back Bronson Arroyo's two-hitter and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Washington Nationals 7-0 on Thursday night.

The three-homer game was Gomes' first since July 30, 2005, against Kansas City.

"This one's a lot more emotional for me," said Gomes, who opened the season with Triple-A Louisville after signing a minor-league contract with Cincinnati in January. He joined the Reds on May 22. "I was in Triple-A to start this thing off, and now -- not too many at-bats later -- I have three home runs."

 Ratto: Arroyo's admission falls on deaf ears

Gomes hit two-run homers in the second and fourth innings and added a solo shot in the sixth to help the Reds take a 7-0 lead. He struck out in the eighth inning, but still finished with a single-game career-high five RBI.

He is the sixth player to hit three homers in a game this season. Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen was the last on Aug. 1.

Gomes became the 24th player in franchise history to hit three home runs in a game and Ryan Hanigan added a solo shot to give Arroyo plenty of breathing room.

Gomes' performance reminded manager Dusty Baker of games he has seen from all-time home run leader Barry Bonds and Dave Kingman.

"That was one of the best performances I've seen in a long time," Baker said. "We needed those runs and the victory, and that was an outstanding performance by Bronson, too. It was like he didn't break a sweat."

Arroyo (11-11) had been 0-3 in his previous four starts and hadn't won since beating Milwaukee 4-0 on July 17. He allowed only one runner as far as second base. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out three.

"That's what a big-game pitcher does -- he saves the bullpen," Baker said. "We were kind of running on fumes after getting in really late [from St. Louis]."

Laynce Nix ended the game with a leaping catch of Ryan Zimmerman's line drive at the left field wall, one of three impressive defensive plays turned in by the left fielder.

"Early on, they hit a couple of balls hard, and Laynce made some great plays," Arroyo said. "I got a lot of groundballs right at people on my changeup and sinker. The ball rolled my way today, and those three runs we got early on were huge. Lately, it seems like I've had fight and scratch to keep the score close early."

Collin Balester (1-2) allowed three home runs and five runs for the second straight start.

"I left the ball up," Balester said. "My tempo was off. I was getting ahead of myself. Other than the three pitches for home runs, I threw the ball OK, but I left pitches out over the plate."

Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the seventh. He had a club-record 30-game streak earlier in the season. Former Cincinnati player Adam Dunn had the only other hit, singling in the second. Manager Jim Riggleman had a brief postgame meeting to address what he considered to be a lackluster effort.

"You have to create some energy," Riggleman said. "I told the guys to make sure to run everything out -- to keep playing hard. If you hit a fly ball, round the base hard. Let the other team know that you're beating us, but we're going to keep coming at you."

Nix led off the second inning with a double to right-center field. Gomes followed with his 12th home run of the season, a 439-foot high drive five rows into the upper deck in left field.

One out later, Hanigan snapped a career-worst 0-for-20 slump with a homer to left field, his second of the season and first in 153 at bats since a 5-1 win May 20 against Philadelphia. The RBI was Hanigan's first since June 13.

Nix singled to lead off the fourth inning, and Gomes launched his second homer of the game into the lower deck down the left field line.

Gomes made it three homers in three at-bats with a 410-foot blast to center field off Jason Bergmann with one out in the sixth inning. He pumped his fist in the air while watching the ball clear the fence as he rounded first base and stepped to the top step of the dugout and raised his left hand to acknowledge the crowd's request for a curtain call.

Brandon Phillips added an RBI double in the seventh.


  • Gomes has two multi-homer games this season and seven in his career.
  • Reds RHP Edinson Volquez is optimistic that he could return from his Aug. 3 Tommy John surgery in a year, if not sooner. "I surprised them because they've seen me do a lot of stuff in exercises for the first week-and-a-half," Volquez said. "They're happy now."
  • Reds players have hit three home runs in one game a total of 29 times. The last player to do it was Joey Votto against the Chicago Cubs on May 7, 2008.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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'That was one of the best performances I've seen in a long time,' Dusty Baker says of Jonny Gomes.  (AP)
'That was one of the best performances I've seen in a long time,' Dusty Baker says of Jonny Gomes. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Gomes
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 3

B. Arroyo
IP 9.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 1
K 3

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Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF2000000 .308
    Jason Bergmann, P0000000 .000
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
    Mike MacDougal, P0000000 .000
   a- Willie Harris, PH1000000 .228
Cristian Guzman, SS4000000 .316
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4010001 .305
Adam Dunn, 1B2010101 .282
Josh Willingham, LF3000014 .300
Elijah Dukes, RF3000002 .245
Josh Bard, C3000010 .239
Alberto Gonzalez, 2B3000000 .263
Collin Balester, P1000010 .143
   b- Jorge Padilla, PH-CF2000000 .167
a-grounded out for MacDougal in the 9th
b-popped out for Balester in the 6th
Washington Nationals
Collin Balester (L,1-2) 5555223 6.00
Jason Bergmann 1211011 4.75
Saul Rivera 1111100 7.04
Mike MacDougal 1000010 3.74
Pitches-Strikes - Collin Balester 73-45, Jason Bergmann 23-15, Saul Rivera 14-9, Mike MacDougal 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Collin Balester 8-5, Saul Rivera 3-0, Mike MacDougal 2-0
Batters Faced - Collin Balester 22, Jason Bergmann 5, Saul Rivera 5, Mike MacDougal 3
Cincinnati Reds
Chris Dickerson, CF4000011 .267
Alex Gonzalez, SS4000010 .210
Joey Votto, 1B2100200 .315
Brandon Phillips, 2B4011001 .264
Laynce Nix, LF4220001 .243
Jonny Gomes, RF4335010 .271
Adam Rosales, 3B3000100 .213
Ryan Hanigan, C4121000 .287
Bronson Arroyo, P3000012 .119
2B - Brandon Phillips (20, Rivera), Laynce Nix (22, Balester)
HR - Jonny Gomes 3 (14, Balester, Balester, Bergmann), Ryan Hanigan (2, Balester)
RBI - Brandon Phillips (75), Jonny Gomes 5 (33), Ryan Hanigan (9)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Phillips (25)
Team LOB - 4
DP - A. Gonzalez-B. Phillips-Votto
Cincinnati Reds
Bronson Arroyo (W,11-11) 9200130 4.74
HBP - Morgan (by Bronson Arroyo)
Pitches-Strikes - Bronson Arroyo 103-63
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bronson Arroyo 12-11
Batters Faced - Bronson Arroyo 30
Game Information
Attendance - 16889
Game Time - 2:07
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Angel Campos