CINCINNATI -- Tuesday night's loss contained a little bit of everything.
The Pirates made a fielding miscue that led to runs. They gave away an out on the bases. They put the leadoff man on base -- or let him circle them at a slow trot -- in the first four innings of the game. Several times, they made outs swinging at the first pitch.
It added up to their fifth consecutive loss, a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park Tuesday night. The Pirates have now lost nine of their past 11 games. They are 13-25 since Aug. 1.
Kevin Correia allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in each of the first four innings. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in six innings.
Leading off the first inning, Brandon Phillips ambushed the first pitch Correia threw and lined it into the seats in left field for his 17th homer of the season.
Scott Rolen homered on the first pitch he saw from Kyle McPherson in the eighth inning.
Sandwiched between those homers were three more runs, two that came on a wild pitch and an error. Dioner Navarro walked to lead off the second. With one out, Mike Leake squared to bunt, drawing the corner infielders in. He then pulled the bat back and swung, chopping a grounder past Pedro Alvarez. Clint Barmes dived for Phillips' grounder, but deflected it into the outfield and Navarro scored.
With runners on second and third, Correia bounced a pitch to that hopped away from Michael McKenry. Leake scored from third, deflecting McKenry's throw to the plate as he did so. That allowed Phillips to score and the Reds led 4-1.
At least five times, the Pirates made an out on the first pitch of the at-bat. They extended Leake, the Reds' starting pitcher, in the first inning, but he averaged about 10 pitches per inning over his next six. He allowed three runs on nine hits in seven innings of work.
The Pirates wasted Clint Barmes' leadoff double in the fifth. Barmes laced a ball down the third-base line past Rolen, who was playing even with the bag. Correia popped out on a bunt attempt, an area that has affected many Pirates this season. Brock Holt singled to shallow right field, sending Barmes to third, but Joey Votto cut off Jay Bruce's throw and flipped the ball to Phillips at first to catch Holt off the bag as he made his turn. Alex Presley grounded out weakly for the final out of the inning.
Presley battled back from behind in the count in the first to hit a 3-2 elevated sinker to right field for his ninth home run of the season.
Pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez homered in the seventh inning, scoring Jose Tabata and cutting the Reds' lead to 4-3.
The Pirates' best chance to end their losing streak comes Wednesday, when A.J. Burnett takes the mound against Homer Bailey. Burnett is 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts against the Reds this season.
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published September 12, 2012 2:00 AM