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Apr 20, 2024 8:31 am

Elly De La Cruz, Reds look to run roughshod over Angels

Elly De La Cruz

The Cincinnati Reds will look to ride the hot bat and fast legs of Elly De La Cruz when they host the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday evening in the second contest of their three-game series.

De La Cruz did it all for the Reds in a 7-1 win over the Angels on Friday. The star second-year player hit a three-run homer, stole three bases, scored twice and made a pair of impressive plays in the field.

“We’ve got the same mentality every day,” said De La Cruz, who has all six of his home runs this season in his last 10 games. “We’ve just got to play with hustle every day and just try to win.”

His three-run homer off Jose Cisnero in the eighth inning blew open a three-run game and came as the crowd was chanting “Elly, Elly, Elly!”

“It feels amazing. That crowd, they support us every day,” De La Cruz said. “They’re here, and they electrify everything. I love that.”

De La Cruz became just the fifth Reds player since 1901 to go deep and steal three bases in a game, joining Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose, Reggie Taylor and Jake Fraley.

The Angels and Reds are even in their all-time interleague series at 10-10. Cincinnati leads the series 6-3 on its home turf.

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon extended his on-base streak to 13 games with a third-inning single Friday. Rendon has 19 hits and eight runs in that stretch.

Taylor Ward doubled in four at-bats Friday, a shot to center in the fourth inning that was nearly caught after a long run by Reds outfielder Stuart Fairchild. Less than a year after being hit in the face by a pitch and suffering facial fractures in Toronto, Ward leads the Angels with 21 RBIs in 20 games.

“I think a lot of it has to do with Taylor,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “We can describe how it would affect people, but the only person who can really tell you is Taylor. And since spring training, he hasn’t shown that it has affected him.”

The Reds will send right-hander Graham Ashcraft (2-1, 4.15 ERA) to the mound on Saturday. He will make his fourth start of the season and his second career start against the Angels.

In his most recent outing, against the host Chicago White Sox on Sunday, Ashcraft earned the win and his 200th career strikeout. He allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits in 5 2/3 innings in Cincinnati’s 11-4 win.

In his only previous career appearance against the Angels, Ashcraft allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings in Cincinnati’s 4-3 win on Aug. 22. He struck out a career-high 10 and walked two.

The Angels will counter on the mound Saturday with left-hander Patrick Sandoval (1-2, 4.67 ERA), who will make his fifth start and fourth on the road.

In his sixth season with Angels, Sandoval took a no-decision in last start, at Tampa Bay on Monday. He yielded one run on four hits in five innings.

Sandoval will make his first career start vs. the Reds and his first appearance against them since making his major league debut on Aug. 5, 2019. In that game, Sandoval entered in the second inning and allowed two runs on three hits over five innings and took a no-decision in Cincinnati’s 7-4 win.

–Field Level Media

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