After completing Monday’s suspended game in winning fashion, the Pittsburgh Pirates immediately returned to .500 with a loss in the second half of an impromptu doubleheader in Cincinnati.
Russell Martin drove in the deciding run in Game 1 at Great American Ball Park, singling to center in the seventh inning to score Andrew McCutchen, who had doubled with one out. Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli followed with scoreless frames out of the Pirates bullpen, clinching an 8-7 win.
It was a relatively tame ending to what started as an unprecedented slugfest Monday night. Following a rainy six innings that featured a ballpark-record 10 home runs – including six by Pittsburgh – the game was halted with the score tied at 7. The two teams reconvened for the conclusion of the series opener at 5:30 p.m.
The Pirates’ six homers came in three sets of back-to-back jacks, a first in franchise history and just the third time an MLB team had ever done it. Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez teed off in tandem twice, while Starling Marte and Travis Snider also blasted balls over the wall.
Game 2 began as scheduled just after 7 p.m. Tuesday, with Cincinnati’s Mike Leake opposing Gerrit Cole. The Reds starter did it all in an eventual 7-5 decision, pitching into the seventh inning and collecting two hits and two RBIs at the plate.
Despite temperatures in the mid-30s, the bats stayed warm on both sides. That was especially the case for the Reds, who piled up 15 hits in all, nine of which against Cole. The Pirates (7-7) carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth, but Cincinnati got a pair of two-run homers from Todd Frazier and the smooth-swinging Leake in the inning to take a firm hold on the game.
Walker ripped his fifth career right-handed dinger against Manny Parra in the eighth, scoring Pedro Alvarez and drawing the visitors back within two. After Pittsburgh put two runners on in the ninth, Jonathan Broxton induced McCutchen to pop out to end the game.
Sanchez and Walker each had two hits in the nightcap, with Alvarez and McCutchen reaching twice apiece. Cole suffered his first disappointing result of 2014, allowing five runs in six innings. Justin Wilson was charged with two runs as well.
Leake labored late in his outing, although he still fanned eight Pirates in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out Marte three times alone, making it five straight whiffs for the Pittsburgh leadoff man after to his homer Monday night.
Joey Votto got on base all five times he came to the plate, racking up four hits and a walk.