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Pirates beat Reds 3-1, await outcome of Cardinals game

Joe Robbins

The Pirates beat the Reds 3-1 on Friday to keep up the heat on the Cardinals in the NL Central, winning their 88th game to draw even with the Cardinals in the win column. St. Louis currently trails the Diamondbacks 2-0 in the second.

The Bucs took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a solo shot from Gaby Sanchez, who started for the sick Ike Davis tonight against righty Mike Leake. The Reds then tied the game in the bottom of the inning on an infield single by Zack Cozart, a double by Leake (who's a pretty good hitter for a pitcher), and a line drive single by Kris Negron.

That run was Vance Worley's only blemish for the evening. Worley did what he does, giving up just that one run in 6.1 innings, striking out four, walking none and throwing only 74 pitches before giving way to Jared Hughes in the seventh. Worley mostly stayed out of trouble, and got out of his one tough spot himself -- Leake came to the plate with two men on in the second and knocked a line drive back up the middle, but Worley reached up and caught it.

The Pirates finally retook the lead in the eighth. Josh Harrison hit a two-out single, then came home as Travis Snider smacked a line drive to right that Jay Bruce overran. (Harrison's single extended his hitting streak to 14 games.) Gregory Polanco then pinch-ran for Snider at second and came home as Andrew McCutchen doubled to the gap in left center. That was all the Pirates would need, as Tony Watson and Mark Melancon handled the late innings.

Now, to the scoreboard. The Pirates can grab a share of first place with a Cardinals loss tonight, and it won't even be totally impossible to root for the Diamondbacks now that Kirk Gibson is gone, so let's do that.