CINCINNATI (AP) — Elly De La Cruz hit his first career leadoff homer and Nick Senzel connected for a two-run shot, helping the Cincinnati Reds sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 7-3 victory on Sunday.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand had two hits and two RBIs as Cincinnati earned its fifth straight victory overall. It was the Reds’ first sweep of the Diamondbacks since July 6-8, 2007, at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati (55-46) moved within a half-game of NL Central-leading Milwaukee. The Reds open a three-game set at the Brewers on Monday night.
“The Diamondbacks just came off a big series win in Atlanta,” Senzel said. “They are kind of like us, a young talented team. We knew we had to play our best baseball. We did that. To get three big wins against them was just huge.”
Derek Law (4-4) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Lucas Sims got two outs for his second save.
Arizona (54-46) loaded the bases in the ninth, but Lourdes Gurriel Jr. bounced into a game-ending double play.
“We’re not playing the type of baseball we’ve played all year,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re all frustrated by it.”
Corbin Carroll hit his 21st homer for the Diamondbacks, and Ketel Marte went 2 for 2 with three walks.
Right-hander Jose Ruiz made his 38th appearance and second career start for Arizona in a bullpen game. It was Ruiz’s first start since Sept. 26, 2019.
Ruiz committed a pitch-clock violation prior to his first pitch of the game. Then, on a 3-1 count, De La Cruz launched his fifth homer of the season.
De La Cruz, who had been scuffling at the plate, was out of the starting lineup on Saturday. It looked as if the rest helped the rookie.
“Just the way we drew it up,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Elly handled it great. He looked a little refreshed.”
Senzel’s eighth homer made it 3-0 in the second. Ruiz allowed five hits in 1 2/3 innings.
“Elly started it off, he kind of set the tone,” Senzel said. “I just tried to take a good at-bat and build on what Elly did to start us off.”
Reds right-hander Luke Weaver permitted three runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. He left his previous start in the third after being struck on the left arm by a line drive.
The Diamondbacks got their first run when Reds first baseman Spencer Steer floated the ball over Weaver’s head and down the right-field line. Geraldo Perdomo scored from first on the throwing error in the fifth.
Carroll followed with a tying two-run shot to center. The rookie also homered during Saturday’s 4-2 loss.
“I knew it was a homer off the bat,” Carroll said. “It was good to get one and tie the game up.”
Cincinnati regained the lead on Jake Fraley’s RBI double off Tyler Gilbert (0-1) in the sixth, and then broke it open with three runs in the eighth. Steer hit an RBI single and Encarnacion-Strand drove in two more runs with a bases-loaded single.
The Diamondbacks went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They closed out a 2-7 road trip.
“Tough stretch for us,” Carroll said. “Everybody’s got a lot of belief in each other. It might be a little bit of a small sample. Got to keep playing. Don’t change our game. Keep trying to get better.”
Cincinnati is 2-8 against Milwaukee this year. The upcoming series is the final scheduled meeting of the season between the NL Central rivals.
“We know what we’re up against,” Bell said. “They have a good team. No question our players want that opportunity. They have worked hard to put us in the situation where these games are important. We have a lot of confidence with the way we’re playing.”
Diamondbacks: C Gabriel Moreno (left shoulder inflammation) was placed on the 10-day injured list, and C Jose Herrera was recalled from Triple-A Reno.
Reds: RHP Tejay Antone (Tommy John surgery) will begin a rehab assignment at the Arizona Complex League on Tuesday. If all goes well, he will return by Aug. 19.
Reds: RHP Graham Ashcraft (5-7, 5.77 ERA) will face Brewers RHP Colin Rea (5-4, 4.64 ERA) on Monday.
Diamondbacks: RHP Ryne Nelson (6-5, 4.82) will start Monday’s series opener against the Cardinals. Adam Wainwright (3-4, 7.66 ERA) goes for St. Louis.