Reds' Aquino hits 3 HRs, has 7 in 1st 10 games

CINCINNATI -- Aristides Aquino is setting records almost every time he takes the field.

The Reds rookie homered in his first three at-bats in Saturday's 10-1 win over the Chicago Cubs to match Trevor Story for the most home runs in a player's first 10 games, with seven.

Aquino took Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks deep in the second and third innings, then hit a third solo shot -- a 452-foot blast -- off reliever Dillon Maples in the fourth. That got him a curtain call.

"That's why I put that show on out there, for the fans to enjoy that," Aquino said through an interpreter.

Aquino, 25, became the first rookie and 12th player in major league history to homer in three consecutive innings. He is the second player to record a three-homer game in his first 10 career games, joining Bobby Estalella, who did it in his 10th career game in 1997.

"I'm not focused about my numbers," Aquino said. "I don't care about what I've done. The big thing is the team and to go out there and win as many games as we can."

In Aquino's next at-bat in the sixth, reliever Alec Mills walked him on four straight pitches -- none of which came close to the strike zone -- drawing boos from the standing crowd at Great American Ball Park. Aquino struck out swinging when he faced Mills again in the seventh.

Eighteen players have hit four homers in a game, most recently J.D. Martinez for Arizona on Sept. 4, 2017, but no rookie has hit more than three. Scooter Gennett homered four times for the Reds in Cincinnati on June 6, 2017.

Aquino wasn't the only major league newcomer to hit three home runs on Saturday; Houston's Yordan Alvarez equaled the feat in a 23-2 rout of the Orioles. They became the first pair of rookies to launch three homers on the same day in major league history.

Aquino has homered five times in the first three games of the series against the Cubs. He tied Eric Davis' Reds rookie record by homering in four straight games starting Wednesday against the Angels.

Called up from Triple-A on Aug. 1 to take Yasiel Puig's place in right field after Cincinnati traded him to Cleveland, Aquino has a 1.250 slugging percentage and 1.750 OPS.

On Thursday, Aquino tied the record for the hardest-hit home run in the Statcast era when he went deep with an exit velocity of 118.3 mph. In the same game, he set the mark for fastest throw by an outfielder, at 101.5 mph, when he threw a ball from right field to third base.

"I could go on and on about him," Reds manager David Bell said. "Even more, he's proven to himself he can be a big part of our team. ... He's aggressive, but he's also under control.

"Not only is he hitting home runs, he's doing it in really meaningful games. These games are so important to us as a team, and he's coming through like that."

It was a long road to the spotlight for Aquino, who signed with the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent six seasons in rookie or Single-A ball. He hit 20 homers at Double-A last season and got called up to the Reds, striking out in his only at-bat.

This year, Aquino opened his stance to access more power. He has become an overnight sensation in his first nine games with Cincinnati.

"I'm just kind of meeting him and learning about him," Reds winning pitcher Sonny Gray said. "He seems to be an incredible guy as well and a fun person to be around. He's added some excitement in this locker room for sure."

The win drew the Reds within six games of the Cubs, who hold a narrow lead in the Central Division. The defeat means the visitors will go yet another road series without a win. The Cubs have dropped two of the first three games to the Reds, ensuring it to be their 11th consecutive road series that they've either split or lost.

They can thank the rookie known as "The Punisher" for that.

Asked if he enjoys that nickname, Aquino waved off his interpreter and smiled.

"I love it," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.