A single by Walker and a double by Brandon Wood each drove in a run to break a 7th inning tie in front of a sellout crowd. Tony Watson picked up his first major league win just a few hours after his arrival from Triple A Indianapolis.
Walker singled off Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman (2-1) to drive in Andrew McCutchen from second. Brandon Wood knocked out a double on the next at-bat to score Ryan Ludwick from the same location. Chapman failed to get out of the inning and was handed his first loss of the season.
That pair of runs broke a tie forced by the Reds earlier in the inning. Chris Resop, who was called upon to relieve starter Charlie Morton, gave up the tying run on a Ramon Hernandez single and was promptly replaced by Tony Watson.
Watson (1-0) retired three of the four batters he faced – with an intentional walk making Brandon Phillips as the lone man to reach a base – and didn’t allow a hit for the first win of his major league career.
Starter Charlie Morton pitched through six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs – both earned – with two strikeouts.
Morton allowed one of his two runs in the top of the first inning. Joey Votto singled through a gap near second base to score leadoff-man Brandon Phillips and gave the Reds a quick 1-0 lead.
Cincinnati would keep that lead until the fourth inning. Ronny Cedeno notched a single with two out and two on to drive in McCutchen for the tying run. With Cedeno and Ludwick already on, Reds starter Dontrelle Willis intentionally walked Mike McKenry to load the bases, but Morton stranded all three with a ground-out to end the inning.
Pittsburgh took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the 5th inning. Jose Tabata scored on a Ryan Ludwick single and Neil Walker notched an RBI with a single that drove in Garrett Jones.
The Reds battled back with another Joey Votto – Brandon Phillips RBI combo in the 6th inning before tying it up at the expense of Resop in the 7th.
After the team’s two-run 7th inning, Pirates reliever Jose Veras came in to pitch, walking Votto and allowing a single to Jay Bruce. Veras clamped down after that, forcing a fly out and then ending the inning with two straight strikeouts.
Joel Hanrahan picked up his 31st save of the season with a three-up, three-down ninth inning to secure the victory for Pittsburgh. It was Hanrahan’s first save since July 28th.
Walker led the team offensively with three hits on four at-bats with a team-high two RBI.
Pittsburgh will look to break the tie and win the series against the Reds at home on Sunday with Jeff Karstens (9-6, 3.12 ERA) on the mound.