Cincinnati Reds' Elly De La Cruz (44) celebrates with Jonathan...

Cincinnati Reds' Elly De La Cruz (44) celebrates with Jonathan India (6) and Joey Votto (19) after scoring against the Cleveland Guardians during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Cleveland. Credit: AP/Sue Ogrocki

CLEVELAND — Rookie Elly De La Cruz had his first two-homer game and drove in four runs, Luke Maile had three RBIs and the Cincinnati Reds improved their slim playoff hopes with an 11-7 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.

De La Cruz hit a solo shot in the fourth off Lucas Giolito and hammered a 467-foot blast to right in the eighth against Xzavion Curry. Fellow rookie Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Maile and TJ Friedl also homered for Cincinnati.

The Reds moved within two games of the second and third NL wild-card spots shared by Arizona and the Cubs. Cincinnati has four games remaining.

Bo Naylor belted a three-run homer and Kole Calhoun had a two-run shot for the Guardians in the second-to-last home game for manager Terry Francona, who called his impending retirement, “The worst-kept secret ever.”

Sam Moll (2-3) got the win with two scoreless innings of relief, combining with Fernando Cruz and Lucas Sims to retire 14 straight batters.

The Reds took an 8-7 lead in the fifth on Maile’s two-run double off James Karinchak (2-5), scoring Joey Votto and De La Cruz. Friedl led off the sixth with Cincinnati's fourth homer of the evening, a liner to right off Nick Sandlin.

Guardians starter Lucas Giolito gave up five runs over 3 1/3 innings, including three homers that gave him the AL lead with 40. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.93 ERA in five outings since being claimed off waivers from the Angels.

Cincinnati Reds' TJ Friedl, right, is congratulated by Joey Votto...

Cincinnati Reds' TJ Friedl, right, is congratulated by Joey Votto (19) after scoring against the Cleveland Guardians during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Cleveland. Credit: AP/Sue Ogrocki

Cincinnati right-hander Hunter Greene matched his shortest start of the season, allowing seven runs in three innings, six of them scoring on homers.

Naylor’s three-run homer to right put Cleveland ahead 3-0 in the second, but the Reds answered with four runs in the third on blasts by Maile and Encarnacion-Strand and an RBI triple from Spencer Steer.

The Guardians jumped back in front 6-4 in the bottom half of the third on Calhoun and Andrés Giménez’s back-to-back homers. Giménez left in the seventh after fouling a pitch off his right knee.

TITO APPRECIATION NIGHT

Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona, right, greets Bo Naylor (23),...

Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona, right, greets Bo Naylor (23), who returns to the dugout after hitting a home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Cleveland. Credit: AP/Sue Ogrocki

The Guardians are honoring Francona at a pregame ceremony Wednesday. Fans will receive “Thank you Tito” t-shirts upon entering Progressive Field.

Francona’s 919 victories and six postseason appearances are franchise records.

“Once you give out t-shirts, man, you can’t be going back,” he said. “It was an honor of a lifetime to be here for 11 years. My 11 years here have been so good, I’m grateful for them.”

The 64-year-old Francona still hasn’t officially announced his departure, but spoke with his players about the situation Tuesday.

“I did take a minute and talk to the guys because I felt like I owed them that,” he said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: SS Matt McLain (right intercostal strain), who was two games into a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville, re-aggravated his injury and will not be activated during the regular season. “Matt did the best that he could,” manager David Bell said.

Guardians: C Bo Naylor (right thumb bruise) was in the lineup for the first time since Friday against Baltimore. Francona held the rookie out of the final two games of the Orioles series in order to give him a three-day break between appearances.

UP NEXT

Guardians RHP Shane Bieber (5-6, 3.91 ERA) takes on Reds LHP Andrew Abbott (8-5, 3.70 ERA). Bieber, the 2020 Al Cy Young winner, will make his second start since returning from a two-month stint on the injured list with right elbow inflammation.

More MLB news

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME