Aquino, who was 2 for 30 since Aug. 19 and hitting just .181, blasted a three-run homer in a five-run third inning to lead the Reds to 7-4 win over the Tigers on Saturday night and stay put in the second NL wildcard slot.
“I was looking for a good pitch to hit right there and that pitch just hung right there, so I hit it well,” said Aquino of the 82-mph Matthew Boyd slider he deposited in the left-field seats.
Cincinnati manager David Bell said Aquino's defensive prowess in the outfield has kept him in the lineup semi-regularly through his struggles, so it was good to see him hit the ball hard again.
“He has the potential, he has the ability to do exact what he did tonight,” Bell said. “We've seen that before.”
Tyler Naquin drove in two with a pinch-hit triple in the seventh inning for the Reds, who bounced back after being beaten by the Tigers 15-5 on Friday for their seventh loss in 10 games.
A bases-loaded walk to Dustin Garneau in the Tigers fourth made it a one-run game. But Tyler Mahle (11-5) got out of it with no further damage thanks to a sliding stop by Reds second baseman Jonathan India, who threw out Derek Hill to end the inning.
“An unbelievable play in a humongous spot,” Mahle said.
Naquin, who pinch-hit for Aquino with two outs in the seventh, tripled over the first-base bag to drive in two and give Cincinnati some breathing room.
Mahle went five innings, allowing six hits and four runs while striking out eight. Lucas Sims, Michael Lorenzen and Mychal Givens combined to shut out Detroit over the last four innings, with Givens inducing Miguel Cabrera to hit into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Boyd (3-7) allowed seven hits and five runs through four innings for Detroit.
“The first four pitches of the game (were) out of the strike zone, and it looked like he was battling,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was scrambling from that point forward. He pitched out of a little bit of damage when they had a couple base runners, then they got him for the big inning.”
With his third-inning shot, Haase became the first Tiger to post a 20-homer season while playing at least 60 percent of his games at catcher since Mickey Tettleton in 1992. Detroit now has multiple players with 20 or more homers in a season for the first time since 2017. Current Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos was a member of the Tigers that season and hit 26.
PLEASE AND THANK YOU
Detroit right-hander Drew Carlton made his major-league debut in the seventh inning and with his first pitch got Delino DeShields to fly out to right. That ended the inning, and Carlton was done for the night. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he was the first Tigers pitcher since at least 2000 to throw just one pitch in his major league debut. The last pitcher to do that San Diego’s Buddy Baumann on July 16, 2016.
Reds OF Nick Senzel, who is rehabbing from knee surgery at the team's Arizona facility, may not return this season. “It didn’t sound like it was going to be any time real soon,” Bell said.
Tigers right-hander Casey Mize (7-7, 3.59 ERA) will be on the mound to face Reds right-hander (7-14, 4.30) in the rubber game of the interleague series. Mize allowed five hits and three runs through six innings in a loss to Minnesota. Castillo gave up five hits and three runs while striking out eight in six innings in Monday's loss to the Cardinals.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP--Sports
Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy
MLB playoffs 2021: Best plays and moments from Houston Astros-Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves-Los Angeles Dodgers
Wednesday had another double-header of league championship series action, with the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves coming away with crucial victories.
MLB playoffs 2021 - How a word with no English equivalent helped Astros get one win from World Series
The secret to solving Boston's offense? For Houston's pitchers, it all starts with 'sisu.'
Braves blast 4 HRs, beat Dodgers 9-2 for 3-1 lead in NLCS
— Eddie Rosario homered twice in his second four-hit game of the NL Championship Series and six Atlanta pitchers combined on a four-hitter, giving the Braves a 9-2 victory Wednesday over the Los Angeles Dodgers and a commanding 3-1 lead in their...
Rosario cranks 2 HRs as Braves put Dodgers on brink of elimination
Eddie Rosario hits a pair of home runs in the Braves' 9-2 Game 4 win vs. the Dodgers.
Framber Valdez, 'totally focused' after sluggish start to ALCS, carries Houston Astros to 3-2 lead
After a lackluster start in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, Houston's Framber Valdez bounced back at Fenway Park Wednesday, silencing the Red Sox bats in a Game 5 victory that put the Astros within one win of a World Series berth.
Astros' Valdez goes 8, beats Red Sox 9-1 for 3-2 ALCS lead
— Framber Valdez lost his perfect game in the fifth inning and then bounced the next pitch off the batter's leg.