Reds winning streak: Elly De La Cruz hits for the cycle as Cincinnati wins 12th straight vs. Braves

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A sellout crowd of 43,086 watched the Cincinnati Reds extend their longest winning streak since 1957 to 12 games Friday night at Great American Ball Park. The Reds erased 5-0 and 7-5 deficits against the National League-best Atlanta Braves to earn an 11-10 win (box score). Cincinnati leads baseball with 27 comeback wins and this was their fifth straight comeback win.

It wasn’t that long ago — April 17, to be exact — the Reds played in front of a home crowd of 7,375. That was the smallest crowd in Great American Ball Park history. Now the place is packed, and Friday’s atmosphere was positively electric. The team is very good and very fun, and fans are showing up to support them. Good times in the Queen City.

Here are five takeaways from the Reds’ thrilling come-from-behind win to extend their winning streak Friday night. 

1. De La Cruz hit for the cycle

The Braves jumped on Reds righty Luke Weaver and took a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Travis d’Arnaud’s three-run homer was the inning’s big blow. At that point, it would have been easy for the Reds to pack it in and say they’re allowed to have a bad night after an 11-game winning streak. They did not do that. They stormed back and Elly De La Cruz led the charge.

De La Cruz, the 21-year-old headliner of our All-Fun Team, hit for the cycle Friday night, becoming the first Reds player to do so since Eric Davis on June 2, 1989. Here’s what De La Cruz did Friday:

  • 2nd inning: 116.6 mph double. He later scored on Jake Fraley’s two-run homer to get the Reds to within 5-2.
  • 3rd inning: Over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory to retire Matt Olson.
  • 4th inning: 96.3 mph (yawn) two-run homer to get the Reds to within 5-4.
  • 5th inning: RBI single to get the Reds to within 7-6. He then stole second.
  • 6th inning: 98.0 mph rocket triple to complete the cycle.
  • 8th inning: Lazy fly out to center. Can’t get a hit every time.

At 21 years and 163 days, De La Cruz is the fifth youngest player ever to hit for the cycle, and he’s the youngest player since 1901 with a cycle and a stolen base in the same game. He’s the first Reds player with 10 extra-base hits and seven stolen bases within his first 15 career games. Just incredible. Here’s his electric evening:

It should be noted De La Cruz faced Braves rookie righty AJ Smith-Shawver on Friday. De La Cruz vs. Smith-Shawver was the first matchup in baseball history featuring a hitter and pitcher both born in the year 2002. Feel old yet? The Reds are 14-2 since De La Cruz made his big league debut on June 6. 

2. Votto’s still got it

It was not until June 19 that Joey Votto joined these red-hot Redlegs. The 39-year-old missed the start of the season after having shoulder surgery last August, and he had to halt his minor league rehab assignment in April because his range of motion wasn’t all the way back. Votto eventually returned to minor league games, and he rejoined the Reds earlier this week.

Given his age and the shoulder concerns, it was fair to wonder whether Votto still had anything to offer, but he answered that question in short order. Votto went deep in his season debut Monday and he went deep twice again Friday, including a monster go-ahead three-run homer in the fifth inning. Check it out:

In four games back from shoulder surgery, Votto is 4 for 13 (.308) with three home runs and 7 RBI. He struggled to a .205/.319/.370 line while playing through the shoulder issue last season, but Votto is a hitting savant, and he slashed .266/.375/.563 with 36 home runs as recently as 2021. Now that his shoulder is healthy, he’s showing he can still be an impact player.

At 39 years and 286 days, Votto became the oldest Reds player with a multi-homer game Friday, surpassing Ken Griffey Sr. (39 years and 104 days on July 23, 1989).

3. The Reds could use more pitching

Looking ahead to the trade deadline, it’s pretty obvious what this Reds team needs to make a serious run at the NL Central and into the postseason. They need pitching. At least one starter and a reliever or three. De La Cruz, Votto and the rest of the offense were great and the comeback(s) win was thrilling, but this is a problem:

Luke Weaver

3 1/3






Bullpen (6 relievers)

5 2/3















Setup man Lucas Sims allowed three solo homers in the eighth inning (Ronald Acuña Jr., Austin Riley, Matt Olson) to turn a comfortable 11-7 lead into a tight 11-10 game. Weaver has a 6.86 ERA in 12 starts this season and is third on the team with 60 1/3 innings. Young pitchers like Hunter Greene and Andrew Abbott will have their workloads monitored, remember.

Fortunately, the trade deadline is more than five weeks away, and that’s plenty of time for GM Nick Krall and his staff to reinforce the pitching. Friday’s win was one for the ages. It was also a reminder the Reds need a few more arms.

4. It’s the fourth longest winning streak in Reds history

The 12-game winning streak is the Reds’ longest since 1957 and it’s tied for the fourth longest in franchise history. The Reds have been around in one form or another since 1882, you know. Here are the longest winning streaks in team history:

  1. 14 games: July 26 to Aug 12, 1899
  2. 13 games: June 5-19, 1890
  3. 13 games:  Aug. 30, 1918 to May 1, 1919
  4. 12 games: June 10-21, 2023 (active)
  5. 12 games: April 30 to May 12, 1957
  6. 12 games: May 16-27, 1939

This current 12-game winning streak is tied for franchise’s longest in a single season in the Modern Era (since 1901), which is pretty remarkable given how long this franchise has been around. During this 12-game winning streak the Reds swept the Astros in Houston and now they’ve beaten the Braves. Those are some quality wins.

The Reds will send righty Graham Ashcraft (3-5, 6.78 ERA) to the mound Saturday afternoon as they look to extend their winning streak to 13 games. The Braves will counter with rookie Jared Shuster (4-2, 4.57 ERA). At 41-35, Cincinnati leads the NL Central, and it is the first time they’ve been in sole possession of first place this late in the season since winning the division in 2012.

5. The Braves will be fine

Tough loss for the Braves on Friday. They blew 5-0 and 7-5 leads — FanGraphs says Atlanta had a 93.4% chance to win the game in the second inning — and that’s always going to sting. They still have the National League’s best record at 48-26, however, and they had an eight-game winning streak snapped Friday. Atlanta’s been great lately and there’s no reason to think they won’t be great going forward. Just a bad night for Braves. It happens. No cause for alarm.