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Pirates can’t hold early lead, fall to Reds 5-3

The Bucs jumped out early, but lost anyway.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates jumped out to an early lead from an unexpected power surge, but they couldn’t keep the Cincinnati Reds at bay all night, as their Ohio rival battled back and eventually took the lead with three combined runs in the seventh and eight innings to down the Buccos 5-3.

Phillip Evans and Colin Moran both went deep with solo shots in the first inning off of Jose De Leon, Evans off a change up and Moran off a slider, and our hometown boys jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead that JT Brubaker hoped to keep, and he mostly kept up his end of the bargain.

Brubaker gave up just single run off of a hit from De Leon that scored Nick Senzel, but other than that, he went four innings, striking out six and walking four while giving up three total hits.

It would have been nice to see him make it a little longer, because the Pittsburgh bullpen had nothing tonight, as each reliever gave up a run.

Luis Oviedo gave up a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth on a four-seamer to Mike Moustakas, while Nick Castellenos hammered out a fastball by Sam Howard in the bottom of the seventh for a 3-2 Cincy lead, and it also handed Howard the loss.

The Reds padded a little more in the bottom of the eighth, scoring two runs off of Michael Feliz, which made the comeback attempt Pittsburgh went for in the ninth a little too far out of reach.

Reds closer Amir Garrett gave up a solo shot to start the ninth to Bryan Reynolds, who decked a fastball for his first homer of the year, and the Bucs looked like they could make some noise when they immediately followed that up with a Moran single. But Erik Gonzalez struck out, Gregory Polanco continued to struggle (batting .076 so far) by grounding into a force out, and despite a walk to Jacob Stallings putting the go-ahead run at the plate, pinch hitter Kevin Newman grounded out to end the threat and give Garrett the save.

The Bucs’ offense continues to lack punch and likely will do so at least until Ke’Bryan Hayes is back, and the pitching continues to struggle with control, walking another five batters tonight to give the staff 20 freebies as a team through the first four games. Yikes.

The Bucs now fall to 1-3 on the season, losing their third straight after coming out of the gates strong with a win on Opening Day. They will return to action tomorrow night in Cincy, again with a 6:40 start.