Two circumstances within the first two innings of Monday night’s game can sum up the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2019 season pretty well. In the top of the first inning Adam Frazier hit a one-out single and was immediately caught stealing second base. One pitch later, Starling Marte crushed a no-doubt solo home run to left field. Had Frazier stayed put, it would’ve been a two-run shot. In the first half of the season, that would’ve made the difference in the game. But these days, the Pirates aren’t even competitive enough for that kind of heartbreak.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Cincinnati Reds managed to have all nine of their batters score in the inning. Yes, you read that correctly, every hitter in the order crossed home plate in the second frame. The travesty included plenty of bloop hits, a grand slam by Jose Iglesias, and even a Josh Bell throwing error mixed in. All we could do was laugh painfully, as poor right-hander Alex McRae failed to make it out of the second inning, and the score was already 10-1 heading into the third inning.
Bryan Reynolds managed a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning, but the Reds answered with another run on a wild pitch by Chris Stratton in the bottom of that inning. Colin Moran pulled the Bucs within five runs in the sixth inning with a grand slam, making it 11-6 heading to the seventh.
The bullpen pitchers threw relatively well in this one, and the score remained the same from the seventh inning to the final. Despite a two-out double from pinch hitter Melky Cabrera in the top of the ninth (potentially his final hit with the Pirates pending Trade Deadline decisions), the Bucs went quietly into the Ohio night. The 11-6 loss drops the Pirates further into last place in the NL Central, and it marks their ninth loss in a row. There aren’t many (if any) positives to take away at this point, and things don’t seem like they’ll be getting better any time soon.
The Bucs stay in Cincy on Tuesday for another evening tilt with the Reds. Joe Musgrove is scheduled to take on Tanner Roark, and first pitch will be tossed around 7:10 pm Eastern. The Pirates will look to avoid a 10-game losing streak and win just their third game since July 8th.