Home Pittsburgh Sports College Football Pirates drop second straight in Cincinnati

Pirates drop second straight in Cincinnati

A.J. Burnett allowed four runs in the first inning, and the Pirates rallied but stranded runners on first and third in the ninth to drop their second straight to the Reds, falling 5-4 at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati Saturday evening.

First and third, no outs, down by a run.  The way the Pittsburgh Pirates’ season has gone so far there was no reason to believe the Bucs wouldn’t tie the game, even with All Star closer Aroldis Chapman on the mound.  But for the second game in a row, after going down early to the Cincinnati Reds, the Bucs comeback fell just short, losing 5-4 on the road.  As anemic as the offense has been all year, they have been downright clutch late in games. 

After a one hour and 17 minute rain delay, the Reds sent nine men to the plate in the first and pushed four runs across on Pirates’ starter A.J. Burnett – who fell to 4-7 with the loss – although only one run was earned.  A Jordy Mercer error on Joey Votto allowed Shin-Soo Choo to score and Brandon Phillips followed that with a run scoring single.  After a Zach Cozart sacrifice fly and a Devin Mesoraco RBI double, the Reds found themselves with their second big lead on the Pirates in as many days.

But, like Friday’s game, the Bucs used the longball to claw their way back and make the Reds sweat.  In the top of the second Garret Jones led off with his ninth home run of the season off of Reds’ starter Mat Latos – Latos would improve to 9-3 with the win – and later in the inning Clint Barmes scored on a Cozart throwing error.  In the fourth, Andrew McCutchen launched a solo shot to left for his twelfth dinger of the season.  McCutchen also doubled and went 4-5 on the day.  In the eighth, pinch hitter Travis Snider doubled home Mercer and the Bucs would go on to load the bases with two out.  But Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek induced Jose Tabata to ground out, ending the threat.

In the ninth, McCutchen lead off with an infield single and advanced to second on Chapman’s errant pickoff throw.  Cozart then misplayed a Pedro Alvarez groundball for his second error of the game and it seemed like the Pirates were in position to send the game to extras.  But Chapman regained his exposure and using a steady diet of 100 MPH fastballs induced a popout and strikeouts of Mercer and Michael McKenry to register his 23 save in 26 chances and clinch the series for the Reds.

Earlier in the game the Pirates Starling Marte and the Reds Jack Hannahan were hit by pitches, running the total of hit batsmen in the season series up to 21, by far the most in the league between two teams.

With the win, the Reds have tied the season series at 6-6.  The third and final game of the series begins tomorrow at 1:10, pitting All Star Jeff Locke for the Pirates against the Reds Homer Bailey.  After tomorrow, the two teams don’t meet again until September 20, when they will play six games against each other in ten days.

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