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Stephenson homers twice to power Greene and the Reds to an 8-1 victory over the Rockies

CINCINNATI (AP) — Tyler Stephenson homered twice and drove in five runs, helping Hunter Greene and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Colorado Rockies 8-1 on Thursday.

Greene (6-4) struck out a season-high 10 in six innings. The All-Star right-hander allowed one run and two hits.

“It is super important to finish the first half strong,” Greene said. “It's a long season. You got to keep that focus. It is going to be even harder the second half because you're not a fresh.”

It was Greene's first win since June 14. He pitched seven scoreless innings against Detroit on Saturday, but the bullpen stumbled in a 5-3 loss to the Tigers.

The All-Star Game is on Tuesday night at Texas, and Greene could be in line to pitch for the NL. Reds manager David Bell is part of the coaching staff for the National League team.

“It starts with establishing the fastball. Also attacking the strike zone throwing strikes. The slider was maybe more deceptive today,” Bell said. “It looked a little bit more like a fastball today.”

Jonathan India and Spencer Steer each had three hits and scored two runs as the Reds improved to 3-4 on their 10-game homestand leading up to the break. They won three of four against the Rockies to finish their season series with a 6-1 record.

“Jonathan has played great for a while,” Bell said. “The defense is there. He's running well. He definitely fits our need as a leadoff batter. I know he had a good day at the plate but he made a couple nice plays in the field, too.”

Stephenson hit a three-run shot off Austin Gomber (2-6) in the third inning. He capped Cincinnati's four-run seventh with a two-run drive against Anthony Molina.

It was Stephenson’s first career multihomer game. He has 10 homers this season.

“Everything is going well right now. This game's hard. You try to minimize those lows as much as you can,” Stephenson said. “I've been trying to use my legs and hit the ball in the air more."

Gomber was charged with four runs and seven hits in five innings.

Michael Toglia hit a leadoff drive in the fifth for the Rockies. It was his 12th homer of the season.

“He’s making some strides. He’s gaining on some things,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He can be impactful with the power. He’s getting closer but still a ways to go. It was good to see him hit a homer off an All-Star which is always positive.”

Colorado finished with three hits in its fourth loss in five games.

Santiago Espinal started at shortstop for Cincinnati in place of Elly De La Cruz, who got the day off. Espinal hit a solo drive in the fourth for his fifth homer of the season.

Reds rookie Rece Hinds collected two more hits, including a double. He is batting .500 (8 for 16) with six extra-base hits in his first four major league games.

“He's playing like he belongs here,” Bell said. “The rest of the team did a nice job of welcoming him.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon was out of the lineup for the third straight game. He is dealing with a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Rockies: Rookie RHP Tanner Gordon (0-1, 7.11 ERA) starts Friday night at the New York Mets. LHP Sean Manaea (5-3, 3.43 ERA) goes for New York.

Reds: RHP Carson Spiers (2-2, 3.64 ERA) starts Friday night against Miami. RHP Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 4.19 ERA) gets the ball for the Marlins.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb