Cincinnati Reds

Derek Dietrich continues to punish the Pittsburgh Pirates

Cincinnati Reds 1B Derek Dietrich now has seven home runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates this season after three-homer night on Tuesday

Cincinnati Reds infielder Derek Dietrich certainly isn’t making many friends among the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A night after taking his time to admire a long home run, and seven weeks after precipitating a benches-clearing brawl between the two clubs, Dietrich continued to victimize the Pirates on Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The 29-year-old had his first career three-home run game, driving in six runs as the Reds defeated the Pirates 11-6.

The angst between Dietrich and the Pirates began with a game on April 7. After hitting a home run that bounced into the Allegheny River off Pirates starter Chris Archer, Dietrich stood and stared at the ball sailing into the Pittsburgh sky before beginning his trot around the bases. In his next at-bat, Archer threw a pitch behind Dietrich, causing the benches to clear. Archer was later suspended for five games, while Reds’ outfielder Yasiel Puig was handed a two-game suspension and manager David Bell a one-game ban.

On Monday night, in the second game of a doubleheader, Dietrich again stood in the batter’s box after connecting on a home run off Alex McRae in the seventh inning. After the game, he admitted he wasn’t going to change anything about how he plays.

“This is baseball. This is how it’s played,” he said. “I’m going to keep playing the way I play. I think everyone should play the way they play. I’ve got no problems with it. Who knows? I’m just coming to play ball and hit the ball hard. We’re having fun and trying to win. This is baseball.”

This time, the Pirates didn’t retaliate on Tuesday, but Dietrich continued to punish them. In the fourth inning, he hit a two-run home run to right off Pirates starter Jordan Lyles. He hit another two-run shot off Geoff Hartlieb in the fifth, then went deep off Hartlieb again in the seventh. Rounding the bases on his third home run Dietrich gave a shrug to the Reds dugout, even he not believing how hot he is right now.

The third home run was Dietrich’s 17th of the season, already surpassing his previous career-best of 16 set last year. Much of his damage has come against the Pirates; he’s currently 9-22 against Pittsburgh with seven home runs. Dietrich is now hitting .254 on the year with 35 RBI. He signed with Cincinnati as a free agent in the offseason after spending the first six years of his career with the Miami Marlins.

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