|Pittsburgh Pirates (72-74)||9||12||1|
|Cincinnati Reds (62-84)||7||9||0|
|W: Antonio Bastardo (3-0) L: Tony Cingrani (2-5) SV: Tony Watson (13)|
|FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score|
After getting in a 3-0 hole early, the Reds answered with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Joey Votto started things off with a two-out single, moved to second on a double by Adam Duvall, and scored on a single by Brandon Phillips.
In the bottom of the second, the Reds tied the game on a two-run home run by Ramon Cabrera, who hit a laser into the right field seats at an exit velocity of 105 mph. After the Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth, the Reds answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Jose Peraza led things off with a line-drive single to right field, moved to second on a bunt by Steve Selsky, and scored on a single by Votto. The Pirates had a golden opportunity to get out of the inning, but pitcher Ryan Vogelsong dropped a feed from first baseman John Jaso, allowing Phillips to reach. More bad defense by the Pirates gave the Reds two more runs, as Scott Schebler was credited with a two-run triple after center fielder Andrew McCutchen took a terrible route on a line drive and allowed the ball to roll all the way to the wall.
Steve Selsky hit his first career home run in the bottom of the 10th, though it proved to be too little too late.
It was another erratic outing for Robert Stephenson. He lasted longer than his three-inning outing last weekend, but not by much. In just five innings and 100 pitches, the right-hander allowed four runs on four hits, four walks, and a hit batter. He continued to show good stuff, however, striking out six hitters.
The Pirates jumped on him in the first inning, as he walked Josh Bell, surrendered an RBI double to Andrew McCutchen, and gave up a two-run home run to Gregory Polanco. Stephenson would allow just two baserunners over the next three innings before a rough fifth inning. A double, a single, and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Stephenson got Polanco to pop out but hit Jung Ho Kang to force in a run.
Jumbo Diaz took over in the sixth, striking out the first two hitters before giving up a broken-bat, two-run double to Alen Hanson. The big man was lifted for Wandy Peralta, who got David Freese to ground out to third base to end the inning.
The Pirates tied the game again in the seventh, as Polanco hit a two-out single against Blake Wood before Kang went deep to knot the game up.
Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Igleisas combined to pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth inning. Lorenzen worked around a two-out walk, while Iglesias eliminated a baserunner with a double play to get out of the ninth inning.
The 10th inning was a disaster for Tony Cingrani, as he allowed his traditional leadoff walk en route to giving up three runs on four hits and a walk while recording only two outs. It’s probably safe to say he’s pitched himself out of the 2017 closer competition.
Josh Smith kept the Reds’ deficit at three by getting McCutchen to fly out to end the inning.
Joey Votto is good. As one Pirates beat writer put it:
If I had one at-bat to save my life, I'd pick Votto to hit for me
— Matt Gajtka (@MattGajtka) September 17, 2016
Reds relievers have now set the major-league record for home runs given up with 93. That is not good.
Minor-League Playoff Update
The Rookie League Billings Mustangs were swept in the Pioneer League championship series by the Orem Owlz, a Los Angeles Angels affiliate.
Let’s play two! The Reds and Pirates will play a doubleheader on Saturday to make up for a rained-out game earlier in the season. Game one is set for 12:10 p.m. ET, with Anthony DeSclafani (2.93 ERA, 3.91 xFIP) squaring off against rookie Jameson Taillon (3.27 ERA, 3.26 xFIP). First pitch of the nightcap is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. ET, as Brandon Finnegan (4.04 ERA, 4.86 xFIP) will take on Trevor Williams (6.75 ERA, 3.48 xFIP), who will be making his first career big-league start.
Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.