Gennett, Suarez, Votto among Reds’ all-star candidates

Despite struggles, Reds have top two run producers in the league

Scooter Gennett flew out with two runners on base in the first innings and struck out with two on in the third Sunday at Great American Ball Park.

Based on his stats over the last 12 months, there was little chance the Cincinnati Reds second baseman would blow a third RBI opportunity against St. Louis Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez in his next at-bat. He came through with a bases-loaded single in a four-run fourth inning.

“The first two at-bats weren’t too good,” Gennett said. “He’s a really good pitcher. He’s got really good stuff. You mix that with (Yadier Molina) behind the plate and the way he calls the game and catches the ball, and it can be a grind up there. But we were able to take advantage of key situations. We only had five hits and six runs. That’s definitely some good baseball.”

» SUNDAY’S GAME: Hamilton stars as Reds finally beat Cardinals

The Reds (23-43) have not played good baseball very often in the first two-plus months of the 2018 season. Until a 6-3 victory Sunday, they were 0-9 against the Cardinals this season and had lost 13 straight games in the series.

However, Gennett doesn’t deserve blame. Neither does third baseman Eugenio Suarez or first baseman Joey Votto. All have posted all-star caliber numbers. Several relievers have also performed well, most notably Jared Hughes (1.02 ERA in 30 appearances).

Voting for the 89th annual All-Star Game, which will be played July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC., began June 1. While it’s unlikely the Reds will send three players to the game, even two selections would be a feat for a team flirting with its first 100-loss season since 1982.

Here’s a glance at the top candidates:

Gennett: His .340 average leads National League second basemen by 51 points. Gennett is also tied for second among all players in the league in RBIs (47). In the first All-Star voting numbers released Monday, Gennett ranked third behind the Braves’ Ozzie Albies and the Cubs’ Javier Baez.

“It’s been really impressive for over a year now from when he hit the four homers,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “He’s just really been a pleasure to put out there and watch him do what he’s doing.”

Gennett would be a first-time all-star if he makes the team.

Suarez: With one RBI on Sunday, Suarez took over the league lead with 48. That’s a more impressive number considering he missed 16 games in April with a broken thumb. He’s hitting .301 with 12 home runs. He ranks fourth in voting behind the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and the Braves’ Johan Carmago

» SPORTS TODAY: Reds go as Hamilton goes

“Suarez is growing into the player we thought he was going to be a couple years ago,” Riggleman said. “He was signed to the extension and is showing why.”

Suarez also would be a first-time all-star.

Votto: Seeking his sixth All-Star Game appearance, Votto ranks third among NL first baseman in average (.310) and first in on-base percentage (.433). He’s tied for 13th in RBIs at his position (27) even though he’s hitting .375 with runners in scoring position.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (.340, 12 home runs, 45 RBIs) leads all NL players in voting. Votto ranks fifth.

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