The three-day break obviously did the Pirates good, as a positively ballistic second inning on their part secured them a 9-6 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park tonight.
The Bucs’ night started on the right foot immediately—Adam Frazier took Anthony DeSclafani’s second pitch 415 feet deep into right center field to take a 1-0 lead. After a Kevin Newman lineout and Josh Bell going down on strikes, Colin Moran also went yard on Disco to make it 2-0 Pirates.
But it was the second inning when the Pirates’ bats really came roaring to life. Gregory Polanco homered, also on the second pitch of the inning. Erik Gonzalez doubled, advanced on a Jarrod Dyson sacrifice fly, then brought home with a Jacob Stallings single. Singlefest continued as Frazier, Newman, Bell and Moran all did so, then it turned to Walkfest as DeSclafani walked Bryan Reynolds and Polanco, with seemingly everyone scoring everyone else. By the time Dyson made the third out with a lineout to Reds shortstop Freddy Galvis, the score stood at 9-0—with the Pirates on the right side of the score for a welcome change.
The Reds nibbled at Bucs starter Trevor Williams throughout five innings, notching three runs, including a homer by center fielder Nick Senzel, on seven hits with one walk. Williams racked up four strikeouts and managed to pitch himself out of a couple of small jams. Sam Howard, coming on to relieve Williams, looked sharp, but he gave up a home run to Galvis in the seventh inning to make it 9-4. Geoff Hartlieb got into maybe the biggest Bucs jam of the night, walking Joey Votto and handing a single to Eugenio Suarez. Senzel doubled to bring Votto home and give the Reds another run. Fortunately, Richard Rodriguez was able to get the Pirates out of the inning without further damage.
Keone Kela made his first appearance of the 2020 season, but he must have figured that Pirates fans needed some excitement, as Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart eked out a homer just past the right field foul pole, followed by a Phillip Ervin single. Then again, maybe not that much excitement, for Nick Castellanos tapped out, Votto flied out, and Suarez struck out. Phew.
It should be noted that after the second inning, the Pirates only got two more hits. Yay for winning, obviously, but it’s telling that they scored nine runs and there was a legitimate scare that the Reds were going to come back. Still, it’s a win, and I was happy to see the little outfield victory jump pile.