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De La Cruz flashes speed, sparks Reds over Cardinals 4-3


ST. LOUIS (AP) — A day after Elly De La Cruz jokingly dubbed himself “the fastest man in the world,” the rookie backed it up in the series finale with St. Louis.

De La Cruz flashed his speed, getting two hits, reaching base four times and scoring the go-ahead run with a headfirst slide on an eighth-inning grounder that sparked the Cincinnati Reds over the Cardinals 4-3 on Sunday.

“Yeah, I’m more faster,” De La Cruz said with a smile through a translator. “Whenever they don’t pitch at me, it gives me an opportunit­y to contribute when I’m on base. Whenever I’m on base, I’m going to be able to score.”

De La Cruz beat out an infield single in the first inning with 31.2 foot per second sprint speed, the 21-year-old getting to the base ahead of 41-yearold pitcher Adam Wainwright.

“I knew I could get it,” De La Cruz said. “We hustle every time.”

De La Cryz tied the score 2-2 with an RBI single in the third. He De La Cruz walked in the sixth, stole second and scored on Tyler Stephenson’s single to tie the score 3-3.

Then in the eighth, De La Cruz walked on a fullcount offering from Jordan Hicks (1-4) leading off, advanced on Spencer Steer’s groundout and took third on Willson Contreras’ passed ball.

With the infield in, Stephenson hit a twohopper to Paul DeJong, and the shortstop’s throw was slightly up the firstbase line and in the dirt. The ball bounced off Contreras’ mitt as the catcher tried for a swipe tag, and De La Cruz slapped the plate with his left hand.

“Right there, I was just trying to score a run for the team and help the team win,” De La Cruz said. “I’m glad I was able to score that run.”

Said Stephenson: “I was just as shocked when I turned around and saw safe. He’s an incredible talent. Just what he can do with his speed.”

Cincinnati manager David Bell was impressed.

“That run there was all speed,” Bell said. “It’s a different level of speed to be able to beat that play. It was a solid hit ball to a shortstop with a really good arm. He just outran

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