Pirates suffer 5-4 loss to Cincinnati Reds

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CINCINNATI -- When his team strands a handful of baserunners in a game, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle often quips that they left a village on the bases.

Saturday night, they stranded an entire city.

The Pirates left 12 men on base and went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position in a 5-4 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

"We gave ourselves opportunities a few times, where we could have had a big hit or delivered a couple runs," Andrew McCutchen said. "But we didn't get it. If we get one of those, it's a different ballgame."

The Pirates (56-39) had what could have been the tying run on third base in the eighth and ninth inning after climbing back from an early four-run deficit.

Scouting report

  • Game:

    Pirates vs. Reds, 1:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati.

  • TV, Radio:

    Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7).

  • Probables:

    LHP Jeff Locke (8-2, 2.15) vs. RHP Homer Bailey (5-8, 3.82).

  • Key matchup:

    Bailey vs. Andrew McCutchen, who is 11 for 31 (.355) with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 8 walks and 7 strikeouts in his career against Bailey.

  • Hidden stat:

    Bailey has thrown two of the past three no-hitters in Major League Baseball, one of them coming against the Pirates last season.

McCutchen led off the ninth with an infield single and moved to second when Reds closer Aroldis Chapman made an errant throw to first on a pickoff attempt. A fielding error by shortstop Zack Cozart moved McCutchen to third and put Pedro Alvarez on first with no outs.

But Russell Martin popped out to shallow right field and Chapman got pinch-hitter Michael McKenry and Jordy Mercer to strike out as the Reds (55-42) escaped with a victory.

In this three-game losing streak, the Pirates are 1 for 26 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 29 baserunners.

"People say you can overthink it," Mercer said about hitting with men on base. "You've got to put the pressure on the pitcher and take the pressure off yourself. The more you think about it, it obviously gets in your head. We just need a couple to fall, and we're going to get going."

The Pirates had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth before Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek got Jose Tabata to ground out to second to end the rally.

The game was delayed one hour and 17 minutes in the middle of the first inning when a thunderstorm swept through the area.

The tarp came on the field just 13 minutes after Mat Latos threw the game's first pitch and just before A.J. Burnett was to throw his first pitch of the afternoon.

"We all have our routines," said Burnett, who allowed five runs, two earned, on 10 hits in 52/3 innings. "That was nowhere close to my routine."

When the field was ready for play, the Pirates weren't.

The Reds scored four runs in the first by capitalizing on some defensive miscues by the Pirates.

After giving up a leadoff double to Shin-Soo Choo, Burnett cost the Pirates an out on the next play.

Chris Heisey laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Burnett turned to third to see if he could get Choo. By the time he turned and fired to first, Heisey was past the bag.

Mercer committed an error on the next play, allowing a Joey Votto ground ball to sneak under his glove as the Reds started to pile on. Choo would have scored either way as Votto picked up his 500th career RBI.

Brandon Phillips notched his National League-leading 78th RBI of the season in the first. The Reds sent nine batters to the plate in the inning, and Burnett needed 25 pitches to escape.

Burnett (4-7) struck out eight and walked two but picked up his fifth loss in his past six decisions.

Latos (9-3) earned the win, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits in five innings. He managed to stay in the game through the lengthy delay after allowing two baserunners in the top of the first.

McCutchen went 4 for 5 and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Garrett Jones also hit a solo home run, his ninth of the season.

An unlucky bounce cost the Pirates a run in the third. With Jones on first, Mercer laced a pitch over Jay Bruce's head in right field, bouncing up into the stands for his first extra-base hit since June 21. Jones would have scored had the ball remained in play but had to return to third.

After Latos intentionally walked Clint Barmes, he struck out Burnett to end the inning without Jones scoring.

The Pirates' luck didn't change later.

With one out in the seventh, McCutchen laced a ball into the right-center field gap then fell down between second and third on what would have been a stand-up triple. He was tagged out after getting caught in a rundown.

"Too much force into the ground, I guess," McCutchen said. "I made a left turn, and dirt gave out just enough."

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Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino. First Published July 21, 2013 1:15 AM


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