Cincinnati Reds slugger Eli De La Cruz, 21, hit a home run amid a controversy over an allegedly illegal bat.
Cruz, starting at third base and batting fourth, went 3-for-6 with a home run, a double and two RBIs in a 9-2 victory over the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
With their fourth straight win, Cincinnati improved to 48-39 and maintained their lead in the NL Central. The district’s second-place Milwaukee Brewers fell to the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on the day, widening the gap between the two teams to two games.
The biggest story of the day was Cruz’s bat.
In the top of the second inning, with Cincinnati trailing 1-0, Cruz stepped to the plate to lead off, and an appeal came from the Washington dugout on the first base side. Nats manager Dave Martinez called for Quinn Wallcourt and asked for something. There was something wrong with Cruz’s bat.
The bat had a white rubber stopper at the base of the handle.
Martinez appealed to Walcott, who explained to Cincinnati manager David Bell and ordered Cruz to remove it. Cruz struck out swinging on a slider from Washington starter Zosiah Gray on a full count in that at-bat.
Then, in his second at-bat with one out in the third inning, Cruz came up with his bat covered again. This was after Walcott asked the commissioner’s office in New York if Cruz’s bat was legal and was told it was. Cruz struck out again, this time on a fly to left field.
Cruz had never been told that his capped bat, a habit since his minor league days, was against the rules.
In the top of the fifth inning, with a 5-1 lead, he took his frustration out on the field. On a 2B2S pitch, he flew right into the middle of Gray’s 84.7-mph slider and pulled it over the right-center field fence. It was a big arch with a 23-degree launch angle, 111.6 mph, and 455 feet of travel.
As the ball stretched into the outfield sky, Cruz pointed the bottom of his bat at his third base dugout teammates and the wall court, did a flip, and ran to first base. 해외안전놀이터 추천
After the game, Cruz said of his post-home run behavior, “I was trying to show them that that stopper is not the reason I’m doing well right now. I’m just going out there and working hard and doing well.”
He continued, “It’s the same bat I used in spring training. It’s just a sensor that we use. It’s just a piece of plastic that covers the bat. There’s nothing else. I’ve been using it since 2021. I feel comfortable with it.”
However, Martinez said of Cruz’s post-home run gesture, “I wasn’t trying to get him in trouble. I don’t mind his play. But you don’t do that kind of incomprehensible behavior after a home run. It’s a stupid thing to do. He’s only been in the big leagues for two weeks, and he can be a well-mannered player.”
He seemed to be mocking his opponent. Cruz