CINCINNATI — Alexi Amarista, listed at 5-foot-6, 158 pounds, is affectionately referred to as “Little Ninja” by his Rockies teammates.
Manager Bud Black says, only half-jokingly, that Amarista possesses “sneaky pull-pop” in his bat.
Friday night at Great American Ball Park, Amarista played little-big man and sparked the Rockies to a 12-6 victory over Cincinnati. Amarista, starting at shortstop, hit a three-run homer down the right-field line off starter Lisalverto Bonilla, and later singled off reliever Wandy Peralta to drive in another run and tie his career high with four RBIs.
The Rockies have, quite uncharacteristically, become a road juggernaut, improving to 14-6 away from Coors Field. And here are a few more mileposts: They improved to 11-3 in series openers, including 6-1 on the road.
Amarista’s homer was his second of the season, which is something of an avalanche for him. He also slashed a pinch-hit homer on April 29, his first home run in 251 at-bats.
By the way, all four of Amarista’s RBIs came in an eight-run sixth inning that included a two-run double by DJ LeMahieu, immediately followed by a two-run homer to left by Nolan Arenado. His 11th homer of the season was a towering shot into the second deck above left field.
The eight runs were Colorado’s most in an inning this season and the first time Reds pitchers allowed eight runs in one inning since July 26, 2015 at Coors Field, when they allowed 10 runs in the bottom of the third.
Overshadowed, perhaps, by Colorado’s season-high, 16-hit night was the performance of starter Tyler Anderson. The left-hander, his command sharp from the beginning, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out seven and walked two. He improved to 3-4 with his second quality start of the season. Over his last three starts, Anderson is 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA, 25 strikeouts and 15 walks.
His one big mistake was a 1-2 changeup left over the plate that Eugenio Suarez blasted for a solo homer in the fourth, cutting Colorado’s lead to 2-1.
Colorado led 10-2 after six innings before reliever Jordan Lyles provided CPR to the Reds’ dormant offense. It blitzed him for four runs (three earned) on four hits in the seventh and eighth innings, including a two-run homer by Jose Peraza. Lyles’ ERA climbed to 8.53, by far the highest on the team.
The Rockies, seeing Bonilla for the first time, ambushed him in the first inning. Charlie Blackmon led off with a double and then Colorado loaded the bases when LeMahieu was hit by a pitch and Arenado singled. Colorado cashed in with an RBI single from Mark Reynolds and a sacrifice fly by Carlos Gonzalez to stake Anderson to a 2-0 lead.