Cozart's first homer comes off familiar face

Cozart's first homer comes off familiar face

CINCINNATI -- Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart hasn't stopped hitting for the Reds since his callup from Triple-A Louisville.

Until the eighth inning on Sunday, none of his hits were for extra bases, though. His first non-single was a leadoff solo home run in the Reds' 3-1 win over the Cardinals. On a 3-2 pitch from reliever Lance Lynn, Cozart deposited it into the left-field seats for a 373-foot long ball.

"A lot of guys were joking around that I'm a singles hitter, but I kind of proved them wrong," Cozart joked.

There was a connection with the pitcher, too, since Lynn was Cozart's teammate at the University of Mississippi.

"That's one of my good buddies on the mound that I was facing," Cozart said. "He's obviously a good pitcher, but I think he's pretty mad at me right now."

The Reds were no doubt elated, because the extra run was critical. In the top of the ninth, they had mashers Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman due up.

"That was a huge insurance run," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Cozart, who had a sixth-inning single and scored on a wild pitch, has begun his big league career with a six-game hitting streak. That's one away from Adam Dunn's 2001 Reds record to start a big league career. Cozart is batting .400 (10-for-25) with five runs scored.