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Musgrove stumbles, Bucs’ bats can’t keep pace as they fall to Reds 8-6

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates had grabbed a 1-0 in the second on Colin Moran’s solo homer to the bushes in center, his 7th, but Joe Musgrove had his first bad start of the year, allowing a pair fo runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings.

Anthony DeSclafani allowed only three hits over 5 23 innings, two of them solo shots - Moran’s in the second and Polanco’s 9th of the year in the fifth inning, much to the delight of his parents who were in attendance on Father’s Day.

Cincinnati got on the board in the third when Curt Casali led off with a bloop single over the head of first baseman Josh bell, then with one out Billy Hamilton laced a single to right. The inning could have been over on Scott Schebler’s sharp grounder right to second, but three pitches earlier Musgrove had tossed a wild pitch, advancing the runners to second and third and allowing Casali to score and Hamilton to move up to third on the ground ball. Jose Peraza then looped a single to right to score Hamilton.

The Reds kept it up in the fourth when Scotter Gennett led off with a single to right and immediately scored on Eugenio Suarez’s bomb to the left field seats, his 14th of the year.

Hamilton was in the middle of the scoring again in the fifth as he led off with another single. After Hamilton stole second, Scott Schebler walked, Jose Peraza beat out a bunt hit to the pitcher and Joey Votto ripped a double to right, scoring a pair, but Polanco threw out Peraza trying to score.

Down 6-2 after Polanco’s homer in the bottom of the frame, it was looking dire as the game entered the late innings. Tyler Glasnow tossed two more innings of scoreless relief sending it to the bottom of the seventh, when Pittsburgh started to tease it’s hometown crowd. Reds’ lefty Amir Garrett struck out both Corey Dickerson and Bell but then walked Polanco, who reached base all four times up in the game, and then watched Jordy Mercer’s ground ball make it’s way to center field. Jared Hughes sprinted in from the bullpen in time to allow another ground ball single to pinch-hitter David Freese which drove in Polanco and then yet another up the middle by Josh Harrison to drive in Mercer, reducing the deficit to 6-4.

The Reds bullpen faltered again in the eighth. With Hughes still on the mound and after retiring the first two batters, Corey Dickerson reached on a check swing roller to third. Josh Bell roped a single to right and Cincy manager Jim Riggleman made another mid-inning call to the bullpen, bring in closer Raisel Iglesias. Polanco greeted him with a liner that fell in the gap in right center. Dickerson raced home with the fifth run, but Hamilton got to the ball quickly and the throw home was in plenty of time to snuff out Bell attempting to tie the score. The play was reviewed to see if the Reds’ catcher Casali was illegally blocking the plate, but the out call on the field was upheld.

As quickly as that brought the audience to life, Pirates’ reliever Edgar Santana helped extinguish it as the first batter he faced, Hamilton, singled for his third hit of the game and the second batter Schebler deposited a ball in the right-center seats for his 9th homer, extending the Reds lead to three, 8-5.

With one last last turn at bat against the closer Iglesias, Jordy Mercer struck out but pinch-hitter Starling Marte beat out a slow roller to third. Harrison reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second with two outs on defensive indifference, but Austin Meadows lined a single to left to drive in Harrison. With the tying run once again at the plate...Francisco Cervelli struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch.

Foiled in their attempt to climb above .500, the Pirates’ record stands at 35-36, 7.0 games behind the Cubs but only 3.5 out of the second Wild Card spot.

They next play Monday night at 7:05 pm Eastern as the second place Brewers come to PNC park, with Jhoulys Chacin (6-1, 3.32) faces Trevor Williams (5-4, 4.38)