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After rain delay, Pirates lose 5-4 in exhausting game

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

So heads up: I don't know how this one ends. I will by the time this post goes live. But right now it's a tie game the ninth inning and, after a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, it's 1:00 and I have to wake up in six hours. So let's just get us to this point:

-P- Gerrit Cole gave up a first-inning solo homer to Todd Frazier, who must be feeling like Pirates fastballs are the BEST THING EVAR right now.

-P- The Pirates tied it in the second when Neil Walker walked and Pedro Alvarez doubled to center. But the Reds took the lead again in the third when Zack Cozart doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice, and came home when Cole bounced a ball in the dirt.

-P- The Bucs tied it again in the fourth as Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli each doubled. (Marte's double was nice to see after a brutal first game on Monday.) But Cole gave up a single, a walk and a Brandon Phillips single in the bottom half of the inning, and the Reds went up again, 3-2.

-P- New millionaire Josh Harrison walked in the fifth, then moved up when Gregory Polanco walked. Andrew McCutchen then grounded to third, but Harrison did a pure J-Hay move to avoid Frazier's tag, belly-flopping into the grass as Frazier tried to touch Harrison before throwing to first. Harrison then came home on Walker's sacrifice fly to tie the game.

-P- After the first four innings, I had already dismissed Cole's start as not being particularly good -- his stuff was there, but he wasn't sharp and didn't yet seem to have much of a rapport with Cervelli. (Whatever -- he had to wait two and a half hours to pitch.) But in the fifth, he gave up a single to Billy Hamilton (who then waltzed around to third, as Billy Hamilton does), then whiffed three straight batters. Overall, Cole struck out six and walked two over five innings.

-P- The Pirates loaded the bases in the sixth on a Jordy Mercer single, another solid plate appearance for Andrew Lambo that ended with a walk, and an infield single by Harrison, but Tony Cingrani whiffed Polanco to end it.

-P- Jared Hughes' sixth inning went exactly how you'd hope a Hughes inning would go -- he got a strikeout and then two grounders.

-P- McCutchen walked in the seventh and moved up on a balk, then came home when Corey Hart singled up the middle to give the Pirates their first lead of the year. Hart's appearance was the first in a string of Pirates debuts in the late innings -- there was also Antonio Bastardo, Jung-Ho Kang, Arquimedes Caminero, Rob Scahill and Radhames Liz.

-P- In the bottom of the seventh, Hughes got two outs, but then gave up a single to Hamilton, who's just so dangerous once he gets on base, regardless of the situation. Bastardo then relieved Hughes and threw a wild pitch that Hamilton took advantage of effortlessly. Hamilton then came home as Bastardo gave up a single to Joey Votto.

-P- Caminero relieved Bastardo and challenged Frazier with ridiculous heat -- his first pitch was 97 MPH, and John Wehner then marveled on the broadcast at Caminero's second pitch, which Frazier waved at helplessly as if it were an 80-MPH changeup rather than the 91-MPH slider it actually was. Frazier (who does, remember, love him some fastballs), blasted a 99-MPH heater halfway to Indiana later in the at-bat, but it went foul. Caminero struck him out three pitches later.

-P- Former Pirate minor-leaguer Jumbo Diaz pitched the top of the eighth and also threw high-90s cheese, inducing an uneventful groundout from Kang. Then Aroldis Chapman pitched in the ninth. Between Cole, Caminero, Diaz and Chapman, the velocity on display in this game was just obscene. A few years ago, when it became obvious that relievers were throwing a lot harder than they had before, you'd reliably see a couple guys a game who threw 95 MPH. Now nearly everyone throws 95, and it seems like you pretty routinely see relievers throwing 97 or 98. Or 101, in Chapman's case. It's wild.

-P- Spoiler alert: The Pirates didn't do anything significant against Chapman. But props to Polanco for singling against his 100-MPH fastball. Polanco can have have a long swing, but it certainly didn't look long against Chapman tonight.

-P- Rob Scahill then made his Pirates debut in a 4-4 game. That was, I thought, defensible, given that the first two batters he would face would be Zack Cozart and Skip Schumaker. He whiffed both of them, then gave up a single and a steal to Hamilton (obv.) before getting Joey Votto to ground out.

-P- Mark Melancon then pitched a scoreless 10th, and after the Pirates grounded out in three plate appearances against J.J. Hoover, they turned to Liz for the 11th. Liz hit Cozart with one out and then walked Hamilton, and Votto singled home a run. Aaaannnnddd fin. This concludes tonight's performance, and you and your fellow theatre-goers can retire to the lobby to complain about the Pirates' bullpen construction (despite the fact that the bullpen actually struck out seven batters, walked none, and allowed all of two runs over 5.1 innings), or just pass out because it's 2:00 in the bleeping morning. The Bucs are 0-2, and they'll play again in a few hours.