Votto helps Reds beat Pirates 13-1 to stay in playoff race

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Joey Votto

Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Cincinnati, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Joey Votto homered twice and drove in four runs, and the Cincinnati Reds pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-1 on Wednesday to stay alive in the race for the second NL wild card.

Nick Castellanos, Jonathan India and Eugenio Suarez also connected as Cincinnati (82-75) posted its fourth straight victory, clinching a second straight winning season, Castellanos had five RBIs, and India finished with four hits and scored four times.

The Reds pulled within 5 1/2 games of idle St. Louis for the second wild card. The Cardinals (87-69) need just one more to secure the spot.

The 38-year-old Votto made a successful return to the lineup after missing two games with a sore left knee.

The first baseman hit a two-run shot off Connor Overton (0-1) during the Reds’ four-run first inning, and then connected for another two-run drive against Cody Ponce in the fourth. The six-time All-Star has 35 homers and 96 RBIs in his best season since he nearly won a second NL MVP award in 2017.

Castellanos hit two sacrifice flies before belting his 33rd homer in the sixth, a three-run shot to center.

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