CINCINNATI — Royals rookie first baseman Ryan O’Hearn simply continues to amaze.
O’Hearn belted a double and a two-run homer in the Royals’ 4-3 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park on a soggy Tuesday night. Hunter Dozier ripped his 11th home run in the ninth, breaking a 3-3 tie.The game was delayed 51 minutes by rain in the third inning.
“The thing that is impressive to me [about O’Hearn and Dozier],” Royals manager Ned Yost said, “is yes, they have tremendous power, yes, they have quick-strike power. But they keep getting better as big league ballplayers.”
O’Hearn now has 12 home runs in 40 big league games, one more than he had in 100 games this season at Triple-A Omaha. O’Hearn belted a 0-1 curveball from Reds starter Matt Harvey and drove it into the right-field seats in the fourth inning with Salvador Perez on board.
O’Hearn said he wasn’t really even thinking curveball.
“Curveball was the pitch he throws least to lefties,” O’Hearn said. “But it’s always in the back of your mind. … It’s a good one to go after. I’m glad it was here in this ballpark.”
O’Hearn doubled to right-center in the second inning, moving Perez to third base. Perez scored on an infield hit from Brian Goodwin.
The rain delay shortened Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund’s start. Skoglund was sharp for 2 1/3 innings, giving up just one single while striking out one.
Skoglund, though, will get another shot on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, starting the season finale.
With Skoglund out, Royals manager Ned Yost thus had to empty his bullpen, which couldn’t protect an early 3-0 lead.
Brian Flynn was nicked for two runs in 2 2/3 innings, both runs coming home on Dilson Herrera’s pinch-hit two-run homer in the fifth.
Right-hander Brandon Maurer gave up a 3-2 lead in the seventh after a triple by Scooter Gennett and a single by Phillip Ervin.
Closer Wily Peralta got out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the ninth by inducing a ground out by Joey Votto. Peralta is now 14-for-14 in save situations.
The Reds had runners on first and second with one out off Peralta when leadoff man Scott Schebler sent a hard grounder toward the hole at shortstop. Adalberto Mondesi ranged to his right and fired a strike to Dozier at third for a key forceout.
“What a night Dozier had offensively and defensively,” Yost said. “That play is every bit as tough for Dozier because he is going after the grounder and then has to be athletic enough to get back to the bag for the force.”
Added Dozier: “It was kind of a quiet night until that ninth inning. Mondi made a great play. He did all the work. In situations like that, we try to communicate that if I can’t get to it, I’ll get back to third.”