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Pirates fail to make Cueto's struggles count, lose 6-5

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Joe Sargent

Todd Frazier's ninth-inning home run off Jason Grilli proved to be the difference as the Pirates lost 6-5 to the Reds Tuesday.

The Reds scored one in the first on an RBI single by Joey Votto, but the Pirates tied it in the second on a run-scoring double by Josh Harrison, then scored again in the third, forcing Johnny Cueto to throw tons of pitches until Russell Martin drew a bases-loaded walk. With one out and the bags still full, it looked like the Pirates had Cueto on the ropes, but Pedro Alvarez flied out to shallow center, and Andrew McCutchen headed home from third. Billy Hamilton's throw was off-line, but Brayan Pena made a great tag, and Cueto was out of the inning. The risk didn't feel necessary given that Cueto was laboring and Josh Harrison was due up, but oh well -- McCutchen is fast, and Hamilton doesn't have much of an arm.

Anyway, minutes later, the Reds' first three batters reached base in the fourth, and they ended up scoring two to take a 3-2 lead off Brandon Cumpton. It was startling, because the game went from feeling like a potential Pirates blowout to the Bucs not even having the lead.

In the seventh, Hamilton reached on a bunt, and then Frazier singled; both stole bases, then came around to score on a single by Joey Votto, giving the Reds a 5-2 lead. The Pirates tied the game in the bottom half of the inning as they got to Sam LeCure and then Logan Ondrusek, with RBI singles by Ike Davis, Martin and Harrison. But after Mark Melancon's scoreless eighth, Grilli threw a waist-high fastball about a foot from Martin's target, and Frazier hit it about 800 feet to center. The Bucs managed to put two on against Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the inning, but they couldn't bring the tying run home.