A severe lack of offense on the Pirates’ part that dampened a decent performance by Trevor Cahill, combined with Duane Underwood, Jr.’s wheels coming off at exactly the wrong time, equaled the Reds taking the rubber match at PNC Park this afternoon 5-1 in ten innings.
One would think that a 1-1 game in regulation would mean a pitcher’s duel. Um, no. Cahill was okay—he went five and a third with three hits, a strikeout, and no walks, with his only earned run being a Mike Moustakas solo shot in the top of the second inning. The Reds’ Sonny Gray went four and two-thirds innings with seven hits, an earned run, two walks, and five Ks. He also threw four wild pitches, but fortunately for his A.J. Burnett-emulating self, none of them came back to haunt him.
The Bucs’ limited offense came in the bottom of the fifth inning, with back-to-back singles by Kevin Newman and Phillip Evans. As he is weirdly prone to do, Gregory Polanco singled to bring Newman home and tie the game. Both teams stranded numerous runners after that, but no one could get anyone home. If there was a highlight for the Pirates, it was David Bednar’s solid showing in the eighth. He did give up a single to Moustakas but struck out the other three batters he faced, getting Eugenio Suarez to foul-tip a 100 MPH screamer to end the inning.
Other than that, it was pretty much this until the end of regulation:
Then came the tenth, with Derek Shelton bringing in Underwood. Okay, not a bad move given recent history. Nick Senzel, the Reds’ last out in the ninth, was on second per the new rules. Not that he was there for very long, because Jesse Winkler singled him home. Nick Castellanos singled, Moustakas walked, and Suarez got his own back by doubling everyone in. As for the Bucs, Bryan Reynolds and Newman popped out, and Adam Frazier, who subbed for Evans after he tweaked his left hamstring in the fifth (oh, yay. /sarcasm), not only grounded out to end the game but grounded out to end his 12-game hitting streak. Insult, injury, all that.
The Pirates didn’t bring a lot to the table with their battery today, true. It’s still early in the season, and maybe Shelty wanted to give some guys rest when an afternoon game follows a night game. When you play with razor-thin margins like the Bucs have been doing of late, though, sooner or later you’re going to get nicked.