ST. PETERSBURG -- When Reds right fielder Jay Bruce connected for a big ninth-inning home run Tuesday night vs. the Rays, he was aware that it ended a personal drought.
Bruce had gone 22 games and 84 at-bats without a homer, the second-longest power outage of his career.
"I've said in the past I don't try to hit [homers], but it's always nice when you do. It's been a while, obviously," Bruce said. "Hitting comes first. It's my first priority. I haven't had a good month in June, everyone knows that -- it's obvious. I'm just going to continue working to get better, and home runs will come as they come."
Bruce hit .342 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs in May to capture National League Player of the Month honors, but entered Wednesday batting .227 with two homers and seven RBIs in June.
It's the ultimate reminder of how a big league baseball season can take more twists and turns, and ups and downs, like "The Beast" roller coaster at Kings Island.
"It's definitely frustrating, but you can't give in to that -- the frustration, or the questions they may pose, and you can't try to force it to happen," Bruce said. "You have to continue to stick to a solid approach and know that consistency in the key. Being consistent is my goal. So far, I've been pretty inconsistent with my career, and that's frustrating, because I know what's there. I know what I can do and what I'm capable of."
Bruce still ranks third in the NL with 18 homers, and eighth in RBIs (51) and total bases (151). He entered Wednesday's finale with the Rays batting .274 with a .343 on-base percentage.
"Like I said in May, I don't expect to hit .340 every month with 12 home runs," Bruce added. "That's pretty unrealistic. But having a June like this frustrating."
Bruce wasn't given respite from his rough month during Wednesday's 4-3 victory, as he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.