Home Pittsburgh Sports College Football Reds hold off Pirates 5-3 in weekend opener

Reds hold off Pirates 5-3 in weekend opener

Brandon Phillips’ bases-clearing double in the fifth inning broke open a close game and the Reds hung on for a 5-3 victory over the Pirates at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati Friday night.

The Reds struck early in the bottom of the first and went up 1-0 off of a homerun by Chris Heisey. Pirates starter Francisco Liriano labored, but the score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth inning when Pedro Alvarez just missed a ground ball and allowed Mike Leake to cross home plate and put the Reds up 2-0.

Liriano loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth before being taken out and replaced by Justin Wilson. Brandon Phillips cleared the bases on a double and put Cincinnati in a commanding lead, 5-0.

Starling Marte got the Pirates on the board in the top of the sixth with a homerun to make the score 5-1. Moments later, Andrew McCutchen homered to pull the Pirates to 5-2. Russell Martin joined the homerun parade in the same inning to pull the Bucs within two, 5-3.

The Reds threatened in the bottom of the seventh but right fielder Travis Snider gunned Joey Votto down at the plate to keep the game at 5-3.

Marte got on base with two outs in the ninth, but Aroldis Chapman shut the Bucs down to take game one of the three-game set.

A.J. Burnett (4-6, 3.06 ERA) faces Mat Latos (8-3, 3.53 ERA) Saturday afternoon at 4:05.

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