The Pirates downed Cincinnati in a ten-inning season finale, 6-5. The win left them with a record of 82-79, their first winning season since 2015.
The game didn’t start especially well. Clay Holmes, as has generally been the case, struggled with the strike zone, throwing exactly half of his 66 pitches for strikes over four innings. Still, it could have been worse. The Reds got a run in the first when long-time Pirate nemsis
Ty Cobb Billy Hamilton doubled, stole third and scored when Elias Diaz threw several yards wide of the bag. Two more scored in the second after a leadoff walk and, eventually, a long home run by weak-hitting Tim Federowicz. It would have been a lot worse but for a line-drive double play in between.
The Pirates meanwhile were stymied for four innings by the struggling Sal Romano. They finally broke through in the fifth when Jose Osuna followed a leadoff walk to Colin Moran with a double. A sacrifice fly by Kevin Kramer brought in Moran and Osuna scored on a wild pitch. They got two more in the sixth when Starling Marte and Josh Bell went back-to-back off somebody named Matt Wisler. Marte’s blast gave him his first 20-HR season, while Bell’s gave him a disappointing total of 12.
The two runs in the sixth only tied the score, though. The Reds had made it 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth on an unearned run off Tanner Anderson. The run came in when Kramer, making what looked like a nonchalant flip to first after a chopper, lost his grip and the ball popped up into the air. After the Pirates tied it in the sixth, Anderson gave up a solo homer in the bottom half to Dilson Herrera.
The runs off Anderson were all the offense the Reds could muster the rest of the way. The Pirates used four relievers — Dovydas Neverauskas, Steven Brault, Michael Feliz and Felipe Vazquez — for an inning each. They allowed just one baserunner and that came on a third strike/wild pitch by Feliz. Of the 13 batters they faced, they fanned nine.
The Pirates meanwhile tied the game in the seventh when Osuna led off with his second double and Kevin Newman drove him in with a single to right. In the ninth, they wasted a leadoff double by Moran. In the tenth, though, Pablo Reyes doubled with one out and took third on an error by Hamilton’s replacement in center, Gabriel Guerrero. Marte failed to get Reyes in, but a wild pitch brought him home. Vazquez closed the door for his 37th save.