NL Wild Card Pirates vs. Reds: Live Analysis and Reactions
The Pirates swept the Reds to end the regular season and finished with an impressive 94-68 record. The season marked the Pirates first winning season since 1992.
Mat Latos was supposed to take the mound for Cincinnati in the do-or-die contest, but due to bone chips in his elbow, the Reds started Johnny Cueto. In his last two starts, Cueto been been sharp, allowing only two earned runs over 12 innings. However, Cueto got into trouble early and allowed the Pittsburgh bats to get going.
Interestingly, Cueto was also Cincinnati's Opening Day Starter. I'll defer to the superstition aficionados on that one.
Pittsburgh started Francisco Liriano who was spectacular at home this year. While on the bump at PNC Park, Liriano went 8-1 with an 1.74 ERA this season. Liriano stayed true to form and led the Pirates to a 6-2 win, earning them a series with the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.
Follow the action here, as it happened in Pittsburgh.
That'll do it.
The Reds go down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to send the Pittsburgh Pirates to St. Louis to square off with the Cardinals.
It would be safe to assume that there will be a few more Pirates fans tomorrow than there were at 8:00 tonight. A historic night for the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh.
With a lineup chockfull of firepower, the Pirates are a serious threat in this year's MLB playoffs.
Sam LeCure replaces Logan Ondrusek in the bottom of the eighth for the Reds. Seven pitchers in eight innings.
We head to the top of the ninth. Get your decibel meters ready.
Snider bats for Liriano and this crowd is chanting LIRIANO!— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) October 2, 2013
In the bottom of the seventh, the Pirates brought in Travis Snider to pinch-hit for Liriano. However, according to the Pirates official Twitter account, PNC Park still resonated with chants of "LIRIANO" while Snider was at the dish.
A classy move from Pittsburgh fans, who were savvy enough to realize Liriano's night was over.
As we cruise through the bottom of the seventh, it's all Pirates.
Russell Martin hammered his second home run of the night into deep left field to start the inning, extending the Pittsburgh lead to 6-1, and bringing PNC Park to the verge of pandaemonium.
This is, without question, one of the greatest displays of deep-seated baseball fan-hood of the modern era. The Pittsburgh fans devoured their fifth Cincinnati pitcher, bringing in Logan Ondrusek to face the sea of black and yellow.
Though there are still two innings to play, things are looking bleak for the Cincinnati Reds.
6-1 Bucs heading to the top of the eighth.
After a McCutchen single to right with one out, Dusty Baker has once again seen enough. Manny Parra will take the mound for the Reds, and become Cincinnati's fifth hurler of the evening.
With their backs against the proverbial wall, the Reds have no reason to save pitchers.
Let's see if Parra can handle this explosive Pirate lineup any better than his predecessors.
Despite walking Zack Cozart to open the fifth, Liriano got another relatively easy inning of work.
Alfredo Simon took over pitching duties for the Reds in the bottom of the fifth, and managed to throw eight pitches for eight strikes despite being serenaded by PNC Park's bellowing rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."
Sean Marshall surrenders a double to Neil Walker that banged off the left field wall and scored Marte. Then after intentionally walking McCutchen, he walked Morneau loading the bases with one out.
Dusty Baker returned to the mound to bring in J.J Hoover. Hoover forced Byrd to hit a double-play ball, but the play was botched by Brandon Phillips allowing Walker to Score to the delight of the Pittsburgh faithful.
The Reds need to respond or this one could get out of hand fast.
After Dusty Baker speaks to TBS announcers telling them, "Cueto is the best. I'm telling him to be Cueto!" Baker yanks him down 3-1. Go Bucs— Ed Sheahin (@NFLSkins) October 2, 2013
Cueto starts the fourth. But after surrendering a double to Marte that ricocheted off an umpire's leg, Dusty Baker pulls him in favor of Sean Marshall.
The pitching change came promptly after Baker proclaimed his faith in Cueto during a mid-game interview.
Reds get on the board in the top of the fourth.
Shin-Soo Choo scores from second on a base hit off the bat of Jay Bruce.
3-1 Pirates heading into the bottom of the fourth.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the third, McCutchen scores on a Pedro Alvarez sac-fly.
Cueto's pitch count now at 55. Look for Dusty Baker to make a change in the fourth.
Liriano has now retired the entire Cincinnati lineup in order with just 28 pitches. Not a good sign for the Reds who will need to get something going soon to quiet this crowd.
The atmosphere at PNC Park is unlike anything I've seen for a non-World Series game. Feels like a Game 7.— Brian Costa (@BrianCostaWSJ) October 2, 2013
PNC Park feels more like an ACC basketball gym than an MLB stadium right now. Fans have been on their feet since the first pitch.
Liriano retires the Reds in order again in the top of the second. He picked up his second strike out of the game and is off to a terrific start.
In the bottom of the second frame, the Pirates benefitted from a pair of homers to take a 2-0 lead. The first, a blast to left field off the bat of Marlon Byrd. And the second, another solo shot courtesy of Russell Martin.
Johnny Cueto rattled by 'Cueto' chant at PNC Park: Reds starter Johnny Cueto had a rough second inning. http://t.co/Dtf5fXM59k— AYOMIDE (@itzmide) October 2, 2013
Johnny Cueto looked notably rattled, and gave up two more hits to Liriano and McCutchen. He was bailed out by Todd Frazier who caught a foul ball while falling into the stands for the third out of the inning.
The Pirates were able to put the bat on the ball in the bottom of the first, but the result was two hard hit fly-outs from Morneau and Walker.
1-2-3 inning for Liriano in the top of the first. Threw nine pitches, seven for strikes. Great start for the Bucs.
Reds Wild Card Game lineup: Choo CF Ludwick LF Votto 1B Phillips 2B Bruce RF Frazier 3B Cozart SS Hanigan C Cueto P— Reds (@Reds) October 1, 2013
Reds starting lineup
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