ESPN News Services3 minutes to read
De La Cruz broke up a 5-5 tie for the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh inning with an RBI single off Elvis Peguero, then got to work making a reliever’s life miserable. The second stole. Then, on a 1-2 pitch from Peguero (1-2), he made a third pass without a layup.
The shaky reliever grabbed the ball from his catcher in front of the mound and turned his back as he slowly walked toward the rubber. De La Cruz stopped to put his helmet on again, walked to the third base line, launched into a sprint and easily beat Peguero’s rushing throw to the plate.
De la Cruz bounced in jubilation and strode towards the dugout, jumping into the big five of his teammates. At 21 years old, he became the youngest player in the live ball era to steal three bases in one inning.
After Joey Voto made the last out, Pejero was booed off the court. Cincinnati ended up winning the game 8-5.
The Reds, who were 27-33 when de la Cruz was promoted from the juniors on June 6, have improved to 23-7 since then and extended their lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central to two games.
De la Cruz has 16 stolen bases in 30 games and went 2-for-5 on Saturday to improve his batting average to . 328. He’s the first player in MLB history with at least 40 hits and 15 stolen bases in his first 30 career games in the majors, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The shortstop’s only blemish was a careless throw to second on the final play, but the play withstood the challenge of a replay.
Lucas Sims (3-1) threw one scoreless inning of relief, Jonathan India’s ninth-minute sacrifice fly gave the Reds a three-run lead, and the Three Stars’ Alexis Diaz got the last three on his 26th save in 27 chances.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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