The Pittsburgh Pirates (40-30) snapped their three-game losing streak Tuesday as they captured Game 1 of their six-game homestand with a 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds (32-37) at PNC Park.
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With the raising of the Jolly Roger, the Bucs have won seven consecutive games at PNC Park and have claimed 13 of their last 15. Clint Hurdle‘s squad is 8-3 in one-run games along the North Shore this season.
The Pirates brought all cannons to bear in the home half of the fourth. Pedro Alvarez got the scoring barrage started with a sharp line drive to center for his 11th double that scored Neil Walker. With Josh Harrison on third and Alvarez on second, Francisco Cervelli collected his third home run of the season with a fly ball deep to center that tied the contest at four runs apiece.
Starling Marte reached first on a throwing error by shortstop Eugenio Suarez that also scored Gregory Polanco. Andrew McCutchen brought the crowd to its feet when he claimed his ninth home run with a 400 foot shot to left center off Cincy’s Pedro Villarreal that drove in Marte.
The last time Pittsburgh put up that many runs in one inning was when they put together an eight-run sixth against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, June 6, 2014.
Cincinnati’s offense got going early as they pushed three across the plate in the first. Jay Bruce stroked a ground ball single to right that brought home Brandon Philips. Suarez grounded into a force out that scored Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce.
Jeff Locke had a rough night as he surrendered four runs, two of which were earned, on nine hits over four innings of work for the Bucs. The 6-foot, 185-pound lefthander did not ring up one batter and walked two. The North Conway, New Hampshire native hurled 49 of his 80 pitches for strikes in battling 24 Reds at the plate.
It was equally rough sailing for Josh Smith as he permitted four earned runs on three hits in three innings for Cincinnati. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound righthander threw 39 of his 79 pitches for strikes in taking on 16 Corsairs.
The Pirates bullpen had both some good and tough moments of their own this evening. While Rob Scahill picked up his second win against three losses, he did allow one earned run in pitching two-third’s of the fifth. The Reds’ Billy Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to left that drove in Tucker Barnhart.
Arquimedes Caminero came on to pitch the sixth and seventh innings. He struck out three over his two innings of work. The righthander from the Dominican Republic also gave up the final earned run to the Reds in the sixth. Bruce got his 12th home run on a 390 foot line drive to right center that closed the gap to 7-6.
Lefthander Tony Watson in the eighth and righthander Mark Melancon in the ninth retired the side in order to close out the victory for the Pirates. Watson fired 12 of his 15 pitches for strikes while Melancon delivered 10 of 12 for strikes. It was save No. 24 for Melancon.
“You strike out six to end the game. That shortened the game right there, with Watson and Melancon,” Hurdle said on the team’s web site.
Marte also got the job with his glove to help the Pirates obtain victory…
Up Next: The Pirates and Reds meet again Wednesday in the middle contest of their three-game set. Cincinnati will hand the ball to 27-year-old Mike Leake. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound righthander has a record of 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.
The Pirates will send 24-year-old Gerrit Cole (11-2, 1.78 ERA/1.07 WHIP) to the hill. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound righthander will be making his 15th start of the season. He is 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in four career starts against Cincy. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and it will on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game lasted 3:37 and there were 26,949 in the seats at PNC Park…The Bucs were 34-36 after 70 contests last season…Prior to Tuesday’s National League balloting update, McCutchen is ranked fifth among N.L. outfielders in voting and Cervelli is ranked third among catchers behind Buster Posey and Yadier Molina.