The Cincinnati Reds picked up today right where they left off following yesterday’s shellacking, and they all but ended this one early on with a series sweeping 11-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Chad Kuhl struggled to start the game, giving up a five-run first inning, including a solo homer to apparent Bucs-killer Tyler Naquin, his third time going yard in the last two days. And Kuhl continued with Pittsburgh’s overall issues with control, walking Nick Senzel in the first, which scored Nick Castellanos for Cincy.
Kuhl finished with five total walks, and though he settled down after the disastrous opening frame, he finished with four innings pitched, five runs, four earned, on two hits, and five strike outs to go along with those walks.
As was the case yesterday, Pittsburgh’s bullpen wasn’t much better, as the Reds scored off of every Pirates pitcher. Chris Stratton gave up three runs on four hits in two innings after Kuhl, including a solo home run to Castellanos, while Michael Feliz gave up a run on two hits, and David Bednar got taken deep back-to-back by Aristides Aquino and Tyler Stephenson.
For another day, the Pirates’ bats weren’t much better, and in fact were on the verge of being shut out until Erik Gonzalez yarded an Amir Garrett fastball for a top of the ninth grand slam.
The full deck was loaded by a Wilmer Difo double, a Colin Moran walk, and a Phillip Evans single and was the only extended sequence of offense we’ve witnessed in what already feels like forever. That’s all the Buccos could manufacture, however, and the rally fell way short.
Difo did finish 3-for-4 at the plate today, while Evans went 2-for-4 and is now batting .438 on the year for the Bucs. Those are essentially your positives in addition to Gonzalez. Not many.
The Pirates return home to Pittsburgh licking their wounds at 1-5, including back-to-back blowouts at the hands of the Reds, and they have the Chicago Cubs back on the schedule for tomorrow’s home opener. The Bucs lost the series 1-2 to the Cubbies after winning on Opening Day and, in fact, haven’t won since.
Keep an eye out for the Talk the Plank podcast recapping the Cincy series and looking ahead to tomorrow’s home opener.