The Pirates smashed the Reds 10-4 at Great American Ballpark in the first half of a Saturday doubleheader for their third straight win.
After an hour-long rain delay, the Reds’ Anthony DeSclafani was starting on nine days' rest -- he’d been effective lately but the Reds are monitoring his innings late in the season -- but the Pirates jumped all over him in the first, throwing up a four-spot.
Matt Joyce led the game off with a walk, then Josh Bell sliced an opposite field double to left. McCutchen then singled into the right-center field gap to score both runners. Kang walked, then Cervelli rolled a single up the middle to make it 3-0. Sean Rodriguez followed with the third walk of the inning. Alen Hanson, getting the start at second base, grounded a ball to Brandon Phillips that could’ve been an inning-ending double play, but Phillips bobbled it and failed to record an out, making it 4-0. Taillon then followed with the always-fun “starting pitcher getting to bat before they even get to pitch,” but grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The Pirates added two more in the third when Kang reached on another Phillips error, his 13th of the season. Phillips redeemed himself somewhat by snaring a scorched ball from the next batter Cervelli and managing to record an out, but Sean Rodriguez immediately followed with a two-run homer a couple rows into the right-center field seats. It was Rodriguez’s… I don’t know, 40th homer of the season or something? Give or take.
The Reds halved the lead in the bottom of the third. Jose Peraza singled then advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt. Hernan Iribarren, who is apparently another player on the Reds, then grounded to short, and Rodriguez managed to throw behind the runner to get him picked off as he scrambled back to second, but Hanson couldn’t apply the tag and both runners ended up safe. Joey Votto followed with a really long flyout to left, but the next batter, Adam Duvall, hit a line shot into the left field seats to make it 6-3, his 31st of the season (downright Sean Rodriguez-ian power).
Jameson Taillon was generally ok. He spread around eight hits throughout his five innings, and only struck out two batters, but also only walked one. The Reds hit some long flyouts in the fifth, including one that hit off Matt Joyce’s glove then he trapped it against the wall with his bare hand, but no runs scored. Taillon did pick up his first RBI of the season when he roped an 0-2 hanging curveball into center to score Cervelli in the 5th -- it was an extremely aggressive send by Twitter’s Best Bud™ Rick Sofield, but Cervelli slid around the tag to score (and with two outs, it was justifiable).
Hanson was 1-2 with a nice opposite-field slap single and two walks, including the first of his SURE-TO-BE-MANY major league intentional walks. He looked shaky at times in the field, though, throwing one ball into the seats and bobbling another. I can’t imagine why he’d be rusty, what with his, like, two plate appearances this month...
Josh Bell had his first career three-hit day, including a late RBI double, to raise his line to a spiffy .313 / .416 / .482. Wade LeBlanc pitched the last three innings with a six-run lead to earn himself one of those goofy “three inning rule” saves.
The Pirates’ third straight win moved them to 73-74 with the night game pending. They continue their dramatic, late-season surge to make their run differential positive. A true Cinderella story.