Pirates two games over .500 with 8-4 win
Pirates' Matt Hague steals second base as Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips catches a high throw in the third inning in Cincinnati.
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CINCINNATI -- On Tuesday night, the Pirates generated production from all parts of their lineup.
Three home runs, a double and a triple helped the Pirates take advantage of Cincinnati Reds starter Homer Bailey and one of the better bullpens in baseball.
The Pirates' 8-4 win against the Reds at Great American Ball Park Tuesday gave them four wins in their past five games and moved them to two games over .500.
Neil Walker, Casey McGehee and Alex Presley each hit home runs, and Clint Barmes went 3 for 4 with three RBIs.
Walker hit his third home run in the third, a long shot to center field off Bailey (4-4). McGehee hit his first of the season to right field in the fifth and Presley hit his third to right field in the sixth.
The home runs dovetailed with the way Great American Ball Park plays. According to ESPN.com's park factor, the Reds' home field is the friendliest ballpark in the major leagues for home runs.
The Pirates hit eight homers in six games at the park last season. They hit four home runs Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers, giving them seven in the past two games. Their 43 homers as a team entering Tuesday's game ranked 10th in the National League.
A.J. Burnett (5-2) earned his fourth consecutive win. He allowed three runs in five-plus innings, walking four and striking out eight. His three runs allowed were the most he had given up since May 2, when he allowed 12 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Pirates took advantage of Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco. Garrett Jones and Matt Hague, neither of whom are fleet of foot, stole a base, as did Walker. Mesoraco entered the game having thrown out 17 percent of potential base stealers. Not to be outdone, the Reds stole three bases as well.
Like he did in his previous start, also against the Reds, Burnett allowed a run in the first inning but improved after that. Zack Cozart singled off the glove of a diving McGehee to lead off the game and stole second. Drew Stubbs walked before Joey Votto singled and scored Cozart.
Brandon Phillips popped out, but Jay Bruce's sacrifice fly scored Stubbs from third to put the Reds ahead, 2-0.
The Pirates tied it in the second. Jones singled through the right side of the infield, stole second and went to third on Hague's grounder. McGehee blooped the ninth pitch of his at-bat into right field to score Jones.
Rod Barajas grounded into a fielder's choice to erase McGehee, but Barmes doubled to the wall in left-center field to score Barajas and make the score 2-2.
The Pirates cracked Bailey in the third. Presley, who joined the Pirates earlier Tuesday from Class AAA Indianapolis, tripled to right field in the third. Walker followed with a long home run to center field on a 2-0 mistake, giving the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
Hague singled, and Bailey walked McGehee and Barajas to load the bases for Barmes. Barmes hit a two-run single, putting the Pirates ahead 6-2.
Barmes had two hits on Sunday against the Brewers but entered that game with an 0 for 12 streak.
Bailey threw 78 pitches in three innings, his shortest outing of the season, and allowed six runs on eight hits. He had never lost a decision against the Pirates and was 6-0 in eight starts entering Tuesday's game.
In Bailey's previous start, he pitched a complete game against the Pirates on May 29 at PNC Park, allowing one run on four hits.
Chris Resop allowed a hit and two walks to load the bases in the seventh, but struck out the side without allowing a run. Manager Clint Hurdle had lefty Tony Watson warming in the bullpen, but left Resop in to face the left-handed Jay Bruce, who would eventually walk.
Juan Cruz allowed three hits and a run in the ninth, so Hurdle summoned Joel Hanrahan with an 8-4 lead and two runners on base. Hanrahan stuck out the side.
First Published June 5, 2012 10:54 pm