Joey Votto: Reds Star Explodes for 3 Home Runs, Including Walk-Off Grand Slam

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IMay 13, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 13: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds bats in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park on May 13, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Joey Votto had himself a day, as his Cincinnati Reds (17-16) took down the Washington Nationals (21-13) 9-6 to avoid the sweep by Davey Johnson's Nats.

The Reds' star slugger had four hits in five at-bats. That's a solid stat line right there, but we are just getting started. 

Three of those hits were home runs, and his final hit was a walk-off grand slam at Great American Ball Park (see video here). It was the 2010 NL MVP's second career three-homer game, as he finished the rain-delayed contest with six RBI.

The walk-off shot capped an impressive comeback for the Reds, who trailed 6-3 entering the bottom half of the eighth. 

Hang on, this gets even more impressive. Votto did this off of a Washington Nationals pitching staff that entered this contest having allowed a major league-low 15 home runs. 

The game-ending blast came off of Nationals closer Henry Rodriguez. The blown save for Rodriguez is developing into a troubling trend for the Nationals. This is already the closer's third blown save against just eight successful ones. 

Rodriguez's struggles aside, this game was all about Votto, and his performance had to be a welcome sight for Reds fans. 

Votto is hitting a rock-solid .319 on the season, but prior to the Sunday series closer, he had just two home runs on the season. 

It will be interesting to see if this sends Votto on a power surge.

Like the struggling Albert Pujols for the L.A. Angels, Votto has been dealing with the pressure of having just finalized a reported 12-year deal worth $251.5 million. He earned a few million of that with this one performance.