CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 7: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds gets tagged out on a play at home plate by Michael McKenry #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Great American Ball Park on June 7, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
What a crazy game, but somehow the Pirates came out on top and are now 29-27 after winning their fourth straight series. Joey Votto doubled in the bottom of the first and Brandon Phillips followed that up with a single, but the Pirates managed to keep it scoreless thanks to a glorious throw by Jose Tabata, a one-hopper that pretty much hit Michael McKenry right in the glove as he stood on the plate. Unfortunately, the Pirates fell behind anyway when Kevin Correia gave up a solo homer to Jay Bruce in the second. Meanwhile, the Bucs went 0-for-their-first-9 at the plate, striking out five times.
In the fourth, though, Alex Presley and Neil Walker led off with consecutive doubles against Mike Leake, and Walker came home later in the inning. 2-1 Pirates, at least until Ryan Ludwick led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo homer.
The Bucs took the lead again when Presley led off the sixth with a single and came home later in the inning as Garrett Jones dumped a single into left. In the bottom of the inning, the Reds tied it yet again on Bruce's line-drive single, and it looked like the Cincinnati might be poised for a big inning, with men on the corners and no one out. But the Pirates turned to Jared Hughes, who got a groundout, then a strikeout, then a fly out to kill the rally. 3-3.
The Pirates took the lead yet again in the seventh -- are you dizzy yet? Tabata led off with an infield single, then moved all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt. Then McKenry brought him home on a sacrifice fly.
Juan Cruz, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli got the Pirates through the seventh and eighth. (Watson whiffed Joey Votto, who also struck out against Doug Slaten last night -- the two-lefty bullpen worked out pretty well this series.) Unfortunately, Joel Hanrahan's first pitch in the ninth, a 96 MPH fastball, was higher than it should've been, and Ludwick crushed it into the upper deck for his second homer of the game, tying it at 4-4.
The game then went to extra innings, and the Reds brought in Aroldis Chapman, he of the 0.00 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 29 innings, to face Clint Barmes, McKenry and a pinch-hitter. Ha ha ha, no problem, see you in the bottom of the inning, guys. Somehow, though, Barmes led off with a ground-rule double, and Michael McKenry smacked a double to the gap in right-center to bring him in. And so the Pirates stole a run from the Reds like it was a computer in a Pittsburgh hotel room ...
Sorry, that wasn't nice. And it cheapens an event that's likely to occur with about the same frequency as Halley's comet. We'll move on. Anyway, it would be unwise to gloat here, because, with Slaten having gone three innings last night, Hanrahan having been swapped out for a pinch hitter, and Hughes, Cruz, Watson, and Grilli already having pitched, the Pirates' only option to face the heart of the Reds' order in the bottom of the 10th was ... Chris Resop. Votto led off the inning with a double, at which point Pirates fans started watching from between their fingers. But Resop got Brandon Phillips to ground out and, after an intentional walk, got a popup from Todd Frazier. Resop then whiffed Ludwick on a called strike three to end the game.