The Pittsburgh Pirates (4-13) were in Cincinnati Friday night to take on the Reds (8-11) at Great American Ballpark. After a shaky seventh inning that ultimately did the Pirates in, they would go on to lose the game to the Redlegs, 8-1.
After a fairly quiet first inning, Reds’ outfielder Jesse Winker fired the first salvo of the game, clubbing a ball into the left field bleachers for his fourth home run of the season to make it 1-0 Cincinnati.
The Pirates wouldn’t respond until a fourth inning home run off the bat of Bryan Reynolds (1), knotting the game at one apiece.
But in the bottom of the fourth, the Reds regained the advantage, starting with a Joey Votto double before Winker came to the plate again. Winker, who’s been one of the best threats for the Reds this season, homered (5) for the second time in the game, making it 3-1.
The game would remain quiet for the next two innings. The Pirates’ Chad Kuhl (0-1), who ultimately took the loss, pitched five innings, allowing four hits and three runs, all earned, with six strikeouts and one walk. The biggest problem in the game for Kuhl was Winker, whose two homers supplied all the offense for Cincinnati. With Steven Brault scheduled to pitch tomorrow, Derek Shelton and the Pirates ostensibly have decided to abandon the piggyback routine between Kuhl and Brault.
The Reds’ Sonny Gray (4-1), who got the win, was pulled after 6.2 innings. He was effective just as he’s been all year. He only gave up the one run after scattering five hits and striking out 10 Pirates’ batters. Nate Jones entered to wrap up the top of the seventh for Cincinnati.
After Nik Turley’s scoreless sixth, Chris Stratton entered the game for the Pirates. A game that was close coming into the bottom of the seventh wouldn’t remain that way going into the eighth.
Josh VanMeter led off the inning with a double before Freddy Galvis singled. After Tucker Barnhart grounded into a force out that scored VanMeter and then Kyle Farmer flied to center, it looked like Stratton would get out of trouble with minimal damage. But newcomer Shogo Akiyama singled to set the table for Nicholas Castellanos, who homered (8) to center — a wall scraper that was just out of the reach of a leaping Cole Tucker — plating the two men who were on base and extending the Reds’ lead in the process, making it 7-1.
After a Votto single, Stratton would exit the game after giving up four earned runs. Brandon Waddell then entered to make his major league debut, managing to strikeout the hot bat of Winker, thus concluding the inning.
After the Pirates went quietly in the top of the eighth, the Reds would tack on one more in the bottom half after a Barnhart double scored Galvis — that run was charged to Waddell.
Tyler Thornburg was given the final two innings for Cincinnati, striking out three and not allowing a baserunner over his two frames.
The Pirates and Reds meet again Saturday evening with first pitch set for 6:10. Steven Brault and Trevor Bauer are on the docket to do battle.