Four of the Pirates’ nine hits, and a well-timed error, came in a four-run fifth inning, Steven Brault worked around bouts of wildness for a strong outing and the Pirates beat the Reds, 5-2, on a chilly Thursday night at PNC Park.
In a 1-1 game, Josh Harrison drew a walk off Homer Bailey to start the bottom of the fifth. Gregory Polanco then golfed a low two-seamer into the center-field shrubbery for a two-run homer and a 3-1 Pirates lead. After Starling Marte flied out and Josh Bell singled, Corey Dickerson drilled one just between Joey Votto’s reach and the first-base line, into right field for an RBI triple. David Freese struck out, and it looked as if the Pirates wouldn’t max out the inning when Francisco Cervelli hit a bouncer to shortstop Jose Peraza, but Peraza couldn’t handle it cleanly, allowing Cervelli to reach and Dickerson’s run to score for a 5-1 Pirates lead.
That chased Homer Bailey, who was charged with the five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Adam Duvall’s eighth-inning solo homer off George Kontos was one of just two Reds hits after that point.
Cincinnati scored the game’s first run on two Brault wild pitches. Singles by Scooter Gennett and Peraza put runners on first and second with two outs in the second. Cervelli couldn’t handle Brault’s pitch in the dirt, allowing the two to move up. Later in Tucker Barnhart’s at-bat, on ball four, Brault threw a high, wide fastball, allowing Gennett to trot in from third. Bailey grounded out and further damage was avoided.
Brault walked four, but settled in nicely in a bit of a spot appearance, with four strikeouts and three hits in five innings. Edgar Santana, Michael Feliz, George Kontos and Felipe Rivero combined to allow one run on two hits in four innings of relief.
The Pirates tied it at 1 when Jordy Mercer, back in the lineup after bruising his pinky diving back to first base on Monday, hit a leadoff double and came in on Polanco’s sacrifice fly.
Rivero allowed a leadoff single to lauded former Pirate Phil Gosselin, but set the next three down in a row, getting Phillip Ervin looking for the final out.
Harrison and Dickerson both went 2-for-4, and Polanco had three RBIs.
The 5-1 Pirates will send Trevor Williams against Luis Castillo in the second game of the four-game series on Friday.