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04/13/2014 5:57 PM EDT
Heisey hits slam, Mesoraco 4 RBIs as Reds top Rays
CINCINNATI 12, TAMPA BAY 4

By JOE KAY
AP Baseball Writer

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Reds went two weeks before breaking out of
their hitting slump.

Chris Heisey connected for his first grand slam and Devin
Mesoraco homered and drove in a career high-tying four runs as
Cincinnati took advantage of Tampa Bay's depleted pitching staff
for a 12-4 victory on Sunday.

The Reds' best offensive showing of the season featured
Mesoraco's three-run homer, Joey Votto's two-run shot and
Heisey's pinch-hit slam in the eighth. Jay Bruce doubled, walked
four times and scored four runs.

The Reds had a brief meeting following a 1-0 loss on Saturday
that epitomized their season-long struggle at the plate.

"The key early in the season is to not lose faith," manager
Bryan Price said. "We understand that we're a good team, and
everyone in there knows it."

For the first time all season, they played like it.

The Reds salvaged the final game of their interleague series but
remained in last place in the NL Central at 4-8. The hitters
have been the biggest problem, tied for last in the majors
heading into the game.

Zack Cozart got it going with a bases-loaded double off Cesar
Ramos (0-1), making his first start of the season because of
injuries. The Reds finished with a season high in runs - they
hadn't scored more than six in any previous game - and hits with
13.

"It's so early that you really can't say we're not going to hit
with runners in scoring position," Mesoraco said. "We've just
got to bear down and try not to do too much."

Left-hander Tony Cingrani (1-1) gave up five hits in 6 1-3
innings. Ben Zobrist homered from both sides of the plate,
hitting two-run shots off Cingrani and right-hander Nick
Christiani.

"It was great to see them come through and break out and get
five runs (early)," Cingrani said. "It was just a matter of
time. We've got a great hitting lineup. Today was the day they
broke out of it."

The Rays are 3-3 on a trip that has been tough on their
rotation. Matt Moore went on the disabled list with a sore elbow
on Tuesday, and Alex Cobb joined him Sunday with a strained
oblique. Also, reliever Joel Peralta was sick, leaving him
unavailable.

The injuries affected the final game of the series. Ramos, who
had made four relief appearances this season, started in Moore's
place and helped the Reds' offense get unstuck.

"One of those days, man," manager Joe Maddon said. "You just
file it and move on. This is less than the 30-minute rule. This
is the 30-second rule. Just drop it and move on."

Cincinnati came into the game tied with San Diego for fewest
runs in the majors with 28. Ramos helped the Reds by walking the
bases loaded in the second, and Cozart hit a ground-rule double
for his third hit of the season and a 2-0 lead.

Votto's second homer of the series sparked a 10-batter, five-run
third inning. Ramos left after throwing 47 pitches. Brandon
Gomes relieved and gave up Mesoraco's homer.

Mesoraco added a sacrifice fly in the fifth. The catcher opened
the season on the disabled list with a strained oblique. In four
games the past week, he went 7 for 14 with three doubles, two
homers and six RBIs.

Heisey connected in the eighth off Josh Lueke for his seventh
career pinch-hit homer.

NOTES: The Rays open a three-game series in Baltimore on Monday,
starting Chris Archer (1-0) against Wei-Yin Chen (1-1). ... The
Reds continue their six-game homestand by hosting Pittsburgh.
Homer Bailey (0-1), who has won his last five starts against the
Pirates, goes against Wandy Rodriguez (0-2). ... Rays called up
LH reliever Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Durham to fill Cobb's
roster spot and sent him back after the game. LH Erik Bedard,
who also was added to the roster on Sunday, will take Cobb's
spot in the rotation for now. ... It was Zobrist's fourth
career multihomer game. ... Maddon batted Ramos eighth, figuring
that he'd have to pinch-hit for him early anyway. ... Reds
starter Mat Latos was diagnosed with a sprained right forearm.
He won't throw for 10 to 14 days. ... Third base umpire Tim
Welke was honored before he worked his 4,000th regular-season
game.

---

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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