PITTSBURGH – When Aristides "PJ" Aquino walks toward the plate, he does it so loud and confident. When the opposite pitcher reads, he takes his bat perpendicular to the ground and stares through it, as if he is a golfer reading a division of a green or an archer
PITTSBURGH – When
When Aquino swings at bat, the ball tends to go a long way and currently it tends to make history. He has broken record after record with a scorching homer this season, and he etched another one in the record books in Friday's 3-2 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.
• Box score
After going a career-long four games without a homer, Aquino lifted No. 1
The list so far?
• Most home runs in an MLB player's first 12, 14, 16, 17 and 22 games.
• Bound for most home runs in an MLB player's first 20 games.
• First MLB rookie and first Reds player to homer for three consecutive rounds.
Aquino is now just two homers shy of reaching the Reds franchise record of 14 home runs over a calendar month, set by Greg Vaughn and Hall by Famer Frank Robinson. He has nine games to get there.
On a team of extinguishers like
"We ask him a lot, and he's really stepped up," said Cincinatti Chief David Bell. "Really, it just says a lot about who he is as a person and where he has come to as a hitter."
Bell saw another building block being built on site in Aquino's strategy with Homer on Friday. The 25-year-old was sitting on a hard-hitting curve ball from Keller, then put into a slider – an offer that generated 10 whiff and five strikeouts – that nodded the bottom of the strike zone.
"It's impressive when you can do it from a good pitcher in that situation when they pitch," Bell said. "It only says so much about where he is right now as a hitter."  The expected regression for a red-haired rookie just refuses to come for Aquino, who has an average of .338 batting and .873 slugging percentages, but he said he began to see signs of pitchers noting.
"To be honest "I'm just trying to have a good bat," Aquino said through an interpreter. "I know they're going to hit me, move around those plans [to make it] uncomfortably, but the only thing I can control is to put a good turn on the ball . "
Even opponents can be stumped by what to do next, especially when he collects a three-hit day that he did on Friday. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said," We will try to find a way to beat him better when the series continues. "
The second one like Aqui no can control is his behavior: how he carries himself, how he prepares for games and the level of effort he shows. He has checked all these boxes for his boss.
"That's what has allowed him to keep this going now that he's been here," Bell said. “He started off strong and met the home plan, but only his mature approach and his behavior. He is very confident in the record. "
That confidence peaked at eighth, when Aquino pulled a full bill with two outs and a runner in second place against
"I think those are the moments that make a player a really good player," Aquino said, "the moments when it's clutch, clutch to bat, and I really like these bats."
Although that lead was not due to
"His attitude is really solid," Bell said, "so we continues to challenge him. "
Jake Crouse is reporter / editor for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter @JakeCrouseMLB.