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Bryan Reynolds Breaks Slump With Century-Mark Home Run

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Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Bryan Reynolds entered Friday’s game against the Detroit Tigers mired in a slump.

Reynolds entered play having gone 13-straight at-bats without recording a hit. To make matters worse, he began his night 0 for 3 from the two-spot in the Pirates’ lineup.

Admittedly, he might have been a little bit too focused on needing one more home run for 100 in his career.

“Very aware (of having 99 home runs). Me and (Pirates Communications Director Patrick Kurish) have been talking about it since last year.

The 29-year-old can finally exhale.

Reynolds’ stepped into the right-handed batter’s box to lead off the sixth inning against Tigers lefty reliever Tyler Holton. The first pitch of the at-bat was a changeup left up in the zone, but Reynolds took it for a strike. He wouldn’t pass on Holton’s second offering.

Reynolds hammered a sinker on the inside edge over the fence in left field. The homer in Pittsburgh’s home park measured 412 feet.

Reynolds’ swing was part of a strong night from the Pirates’ offense in their 7-4 win over the Tigers.

In typical fashion, the reserved Reynolds didn’t have much to say on the milestone home run, but he appreciated its significance. Maybe more so, he appreciated putting it in the rearview mirror.

“Yeah, feels good,” he said. “Happy to get it out of the way.”

For the better part of the season, the Pirates’ offense has been clicking. Reynolds played a big part of that in the beginning. He opened the season with a five-game hitting streak and through the first seven games, was hitting .323 with a .996 OPS and nine RBIs.

However, in the Pirates’ three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, Reynolds didn’t record a hit and reached base only one time.

In his at-bat following home run No. 100, Reynolds lined a single for his second hit of the game.

If Reynolds’ slump ended with his big swing, the Pirates’ offense can be even better than what they’ve showed. That’s a bold statement considering Pittsburgh is 9-2 through their first 11 games to start the year.

“Getting back on track. He had better at bats today,” manager Derek Shelton said on Reynolds. “But you know, I think it was inevitable he was going to get to 100. It’s just a matter of seeing better swings today. It’s very important for the function of our lineup.”

Reynolds was able to reach a big milestone on the same night in which his teammate came just short of one.

Andrew McCutchen needs one more home run for 300 in his career. He’s been struck on 299 since Aug. 22 of last season. The lengthy span, prolonged even further by McCutchen’s season-ending Achilles injury last season, looked like it would be coming to an end.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, McCutchen hit one high and far to deep right field, but the ball clanged high off the Clemente Wall for a double. The two-bagger would have been a round-tripper in 14 ballparks.

“I thought he had it. I really did,” said Shelton. I was hoping he did … He missed it by a couple feet.”

While McCutchen will have to wait at least another day, Reynolds can stop thinking about No. 100 — and put his could streak out of his mind with it.

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