Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Live Blog: Instant Reactions and Analysis
The Pittsburgh Pirates (43-30) used a big offensive performance from third baseman Pedro Alvarez (5 RBI) to defeat the Cincinnati Reds (44-30), 5-3, in the finale of the two teams' four-game series Thursday afternoon.
Alvarez singled in a run in the third inning, hit a solo home run in the sixth, then hit a three-run double in the seventh, which broke a 2-2 tie.
Starters Brandon Cumpton for the Pirates and Homer Bailey for the Reds both made solid starts, each allowing two runs. However, Reds reliever Alfredo Simon came in and loaded the bases before Tony Cingrani replaced him to allow Alvarez' big double. Simon will be saddled with the loss.
The Pirates' Bryan Morris earned the win after pitching the sixth and seventh innings and allowing one run. Tony Watson came in at the beginning of the eighth inning and completed the game for a save.
The Reds' offense got their runs from Joey Votto's RBI single in the first, Jay Bruce's solo home run in the fourth and Jack Hannahan's RBI groundout in the seventh.
With the victory, the Pirates are now just one-half game behind the Reds in the National League Wild Card Standings. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh also stand three and three and a half games, respectively, out of first place in the NL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals (46-26) lead that division.
Watson strikes out Hanigan to end the game. The Pirates win, 5-3!
Tony Watson forces another groundout from Cozart, this time to third.
Lutz grounds out to second, and the Reds have just two outs left.
McCutchen with a swing and a miss, and we head to the Reds' last chance at a comeback now. Up next for the Reds will be Donald Lutz, Zack Cozart and Ryan Hanigan.
J.J. Hoover whiffs Marte to lead off the ninth.
A very quick 1-2-3 inning will end inning eight.
End of eighth inning, Pirates up 5-3.
Tony Watson, a southpaw, will enter for Bryan Morris. This Pirates bullpen is always tough, with an ERA of eighth in the MLB (3.04) and tied for second in saves (27), per MLB.com.
The Pirates cannot capitalize on a leadoff double by Walker, and we head to the bottom of the eighth.
What a throw by Hanigan to get Neil Walker stealing third. Two outs now.
J.J. Hoover is now pitching for the Reds.
Neil Walker doubles to start inning eight. Is a double-to-lead-off-the-inning trend starting?
Choo is stranded after a Paul flyout to left.
End of seventh inning, Pirates up 5-3
What a bunt by Choo! He advances to second on the errant throw by McKenry.
RBI groundout for Hannahan will make it two outs.
Pirates up, 5-3
Zack Cozart with the well-hit double to deep left-center to lead off the inning. Good start for the Reds.
The half-inning is finally over after a groundout by Sanchez.
Big strikeout for Cingrani on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. The Pirates will now need a hit or walk to score this inning (or an error or HBP).
Tough situation to come into for Cingrani. Bases loaded, one out.
The bases are now loaded after a walk to McCutchen. Tony Cingrani will take Simon's place on the moud.
That bunt pop-out is huge for the Reds. No runners were able to advance.
Another base hit given up by Simon, this time to Starling Marte. Marte's speed can't be used with Morris on second in front of him, however.
In to pitch for the Reds is the righty Alfredo Simon, but Simon gives up a hit to fellow pitcher Bryan Morris.
A groundout by Frazier ends the sixth.
End of sixth inning, score tied 2-2
Jay Bruce also strikes out swinging on a low breaking ball by Morris. Morris sure gets a lot of movement on those pitches.
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