CINCINNATI — Lane Thomas had a three-homer game for the first time in his career, and Nelson Cruz and Juan Soto also went deep, leading the Washington Nationals to an 8-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
Thomas became the first Nationals player to hit three homers in a game since Kyle Schwarber did it on June 20, 2021, against the New York Mets. He had only three home runs in 123 at-bats.
The 26-year-old Thomas had a two-run homer in the third inning and solo shots in the fifth and seventh, lifting his season total to six, one shy of his career high. He has 18 career home runs.
Thomas’ bid to become the first Nationals player, and the 19th in MLB history, to hit four home runs in a game ended in the eighth when he flew out to centerfield.
Joey Votto hit a three-run homer for Cincinnati in the eighth and tied Johnny Bench for fourth on the franchise's all-time hits list with 2,048. Tommy Pham also homered for the Reds.
The Nationals spoiled the debut for veteran left-hander Mike Minor, pitching for the first time since the Reds acquired him from the Kansas City Royals in March.
Minor, traded to Cincinnati in exchange for left-handed reliever Amir Garrett, started the season on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder strain. The start was Minor's first since Sept. 8, 2021.
After needing just eight pitches in a perfect first inning, Minor allowed a solo homer to Cruz leading off the second.
Nationals center fielder Victor Robles appeared to rob Pham of a two-run home run with a leaping catch over the wall in the first, but the ball bounced out of Robles' glove, giving the Reds a 2-0 lead. It was Pham's sixth homer of the season.
Minor (0-1) ran into trouble in the third, allowing back-to-back homers to Thomas and Soto. Thomas' two-run shot followed an RBI double by Robles, and the Nationals led 5-2.
Minor allowed five earned runs with no walks and six strikeouts in four innings.
Thomas' homer in fifth came off Vladimir Gutierrez and his poke in the seventh came off Jeff Hoffman.
The Reds hadn't allowed a three-homer game since the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez on Aug. 22, 2016. Only the Oakland A's and Tampa Bay Rays had gone longer without having an opposing batter homer three times.
Nationals right-hander Josiah Gray (6-4) allowed one earned run in six innings and struck out nine. Tanner Rainey pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
Since starting the season 3-22, the Reds have gone 15-11, the sixth-best record in baseball during that span, third-best in the NL.
Nationals: LHP Josh Rogers was placed on the 15-day injured list on Friday with a left shoulder impingement. RHP Andrés Machado was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to replace Rogers on the roster.
Reds: LHP Justin Wilson had surgery on Friday to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. ... 2B Jonathan India is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to determine how well his strained right hamstring is healing.
Reds RHP Tyler Mahle (2-5, 5.53) will make his 12th start of the season. All three of his quality starts this season have come in his past four starts. Nationals RHP Erick Fedde (3-4, 4.60) has lost two of his last three starts.