Jay Bruce homered twice and matched a career high with five RBIs, and the Cincinnati Reds made a winner of top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson in his major league debut by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 10-6 on Thursday to complete a season-opening sweep.
"We’re one of the teams trying to scratch our way back to the top in NL Central," Bryan Price said. "I like that we don’t concede anything. Nobody wants to play hard and lose. We feel like we’ve got a good ball club. There’s a lot of optimism here. We don’t look at ourselves as a bad team. We like our team.”
Eugenio Suarez hit his first career grand slam and Bruce connected for a three-run shot as the Reds scored eight times in the fourth inning, ruining the big league debut of reliever Daniel Stumpf. Bruce capped the 13-batter outburst with an RBI single.
“It feels good. I’ve had a lot of times in my career when I expected to be a better player and I just hope I can help the team and be an impact player," Bruce said after the game. "I know I’m that guy. I expect to be that, plus more this year.”
Stephenson, a first-round draft pick in 2011, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on March 18 and recalled on opening day for what is expected to be one start. The right-hander allowed six hits and four runs - three earned - with two walks and one strikeout in five innings.
“It was very exciting. It helped with the team putting up ten runs out there," Stephenson said. "You can’t really can’t ask for much more.”
Cedric Hunter hit a leadoff homer in the fourth and Ryan Howard had a two-run shot in the fifth for Philadelphia.
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