Pablo Reyes’ drive to the warning track in left center with one out in the bottom of the ninth fell untouched, scoring pinch-runner Joe Musgrove from third with the winning run as the Pirates roughed up Reds’ closer Raisel Iglesias for four hits.
Pirates’ starter Mitch Keller tossed the best game of his young major league career, allowing just one run as he worked into the seventh, striking out nine Reds’ batters.
Mitch Keller, Filthy 80mph Curveball (spin axis/release). pic.twitter.com/EckKZpzfdB— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 24, 2019
Cincinnati rookie right fielder Aristides Aquino got them on the board first when he led off the second inning driving a slider into the seats in right center, his 12th home run in just 21 major league games.
The game rolled along after that as the Pirates couldn’t touch Reds’ starter Anthony DeSclafani. They were finally able to tie the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, when Bryan Reynolds’ walk and Starling Marte’s infield single put two on with no outs. Josh Bell’s deep drive to center moved up both runners, allowing Reynolds to score on Colin Moran’s grounder to first.
With a tie score and his pitch count at 84, Keller went back out for the seventh but saw Tucker Barnhart drop a pop fly down the left field line for a double and Jose Iglesias roll a ball past a drawn in Moran at third base for a single. With the lead run on third with none out, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle signalled for fire balling right-hander Michael Feliz.
On the Player’s Weekend, where those in uniform got to choose the name that appeared on their backs, the much maligned Hurdle went with “Not Done Yet” - and for one night, he seemed to pull all the right moves out of his hat.
After four fastballs, Derek Dietrich went down swinging at a beautiful curve at the knees. Nick Senzel waved at three curves. Back to the hard stuff, and pinch-hitter Brian O’Grady whiffed on a heater at the letters as the Pirates’ dugout erupted in celebration.
However, it appeared the joy might be for naught when facing Keone Kela in the eighth Freddy Galvis rolled a double inside the bag at first and after Eugenio Suarez went down on strikes for the fourth time, Aquino ripped his third hit of the game, a double to left, giving the Reds a late 2-1 lead.
After the Pirates went out meekly against Amir Garrett in the eighth, Hurdle went against his recent practice and brought in closer Felipe Vazquez for the ninth, in an attempt to keep the deficit at just one run.
After an easy ninth for Vazquez, Iglesias came on to close out the game for the Reds. Moran was first up and dropped an 0-2 pitch into left for a single. Erik Gonzalez pinch-ran for Moran at first base, then advanced to second when Jose Osuna smacked the first pitch he saw into left for another single.
Down a run with runners at first and second and three outs remaining in the game, Hurdle elected to have Adam Frazier swing away, and Frazier looped a 1-2 pitch in front of center fielder Nick Senzel for a single that drove Gonzalez home with the tying run.
With Osuna at second base representing the winning run, Hurdle sent Joe Musgrove out to pinch run, and with the score tied then Hurdle called for the bunt, which Jacob Stallings executed flawlessly on the first pitch. Reyes stepped in to pinch hit for the pitcher Vazquez and drove a 1-1 pitch deep into the left-center notch, well over the drawn in outfield, bouncing off the wall for the game winning single.
The series continues at 7:05 p.m. Eastern on Saturday evening as the Reds send veteran left-hander Alex Wood (1-2, 5.92) to face the Pirates’ Trevor Williams (5-6, 5.65)