Reds pull ahead of Pirates, 5-4
Share with others:
CINCINNATI -- For the second consecutive night, the sellout crowd at Great American Ball Park got a show.
This time, they saw home runs, triples and an ejection in a series where frustration continues to mount.
Todd Frazier's ground ball scored Scott Rolen in the eighth inning and gave the Reds a 5-4 win against the Pirates Saturday night.
Rolen tripled to center field off Jared Hughes in the eighth. On Frazier's high chopper, Rolen took off for home. Hughes fielded the chopper and opted to throw to first.
The next batter, Dioner Navarro, grounded softly down the first-base line, and Hughes shoved him as he applied the tag, the latest evidence of frustration after two hit Pirates batters in the first two games of the series.
The Reds had a chance in the bottom of the seventh, but Hughes stranded two base-runners. The Pirates had a man on in the eighth, but a diving stop by Miguel Cairo ended the inning.
James McDonald again allowed runs to score in the first inning. Zack Cozart hit a hard single to center field to lead off the inning before Drew Stubbs bunted down the third-base line. Pedro Alvarez barehanded the ball, but his throw went wide of Garrett Jones at first and the Reds had runners on second and third with no outs.
McDonald pitched to both sides of the plate against Jay Bruce and struck him out. He threw all his pitches, mixing speeds, to Ryan Ludwick and struck him out, too. Rolen hit a first-pitch fastball into right field, though, which scored two runs.
Michael McKenry, whose recent offense prompted manager Clint Hurdle to move him up in the order Saturday night, led off the second inning with his 11th home run, a high fly ball into the left-field seats.
Two batters later, Mike Leake hit Josh Harrison on the left thigh. Harrison flipped his bat toward the Pirates' dugout with purpose and exchanged words with Leake as he jogged to first. Leake walked off the mound, palms up in apparent confusion, as they spoke.
The incident occurred one night after Aroldis Chapman hit Andrew McCutchen with two outs in the ninth inning, so home plate umpire Brian Gorman, the crew chief for the series, warned both dugouts. Hurdle came out to argue, as the Pirates had not hit anyone in the series while the Reds had hit two men, and was subsequently ejected.
In the third, Alex Presley hit a ball off the top of the wall in right field that Bruce barely missed. The umpires reviewed the play, but it stood as a triple. Neil Walker lined out to right, allowing Presley to score and tying the game at 2-2.
Stubbs dribbled a ball in front of home plate that McKenry bobbled as he tried to pick it up, putting Stubbs on first with an infield single in the third inning. Bruce poked an outside fastball into left field before Ludwick doubled off the wall in left, scoring Stubbs.
McDonald got ahead of Ludwick with inside breaking balls, then reverted to his harder offerings. He went back to his slider, but Ludwick hammered it.
Two batters later, Frazier hit a grounder in the hole between second and third. Harrison dived to his right and stopped it, but Frazier narrowly beat his throw to first, allowing Bruce to score and giving the Reds a 4-2 lead.
Harrison retaliated with his bat in the fourth. He took a 2-2 slider into the left-field seats for his third home run of the season, cutting the Reds' lead to 4-3.
The Pirates tied the score in the sixth. Jones doubled on a hard ground ball down the right-field line that Frazier couldn't handle. He went to third when the ball squirted away from Navarro after Leake struck out Alvarez swinging and scored on Travis Snider's sacrifice fly to tie the game, 4-4.
McDonald improved after the third inning. He allowed no hits and one walk in his final three innings and struck out four. He pitched six innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits, walking one and striking out seven.
McDonald's improvement over the final three innings was a good sign for the Pirates. McDonald, who battled A.J. Burnett for the title of best pitcher in the Pirates' rotation in the first half of the season, had struggled in his four starts since the All-Star break.
Leake gave up four runs, two of them on solo homers, in six innings, also walking one and striking out seven.
First Published August 4, 2012 10:24 pm