After some sloppy play and the inability to produce at crucial parts of the game on Saturday led to a 4-2 loss to A.J. Burnett and the Pirates, it seemed that the Cincinnati Reds came to PNC Park on Sunday ready to take out their frustrations on Pittsburgh.
The Reds jumped out to a large early lead off Pirate starter Jeff Locke and never really looked back, as Jay Bruce knocked in three runs with a double. Todd Frazier followed that trick with one of his own, a home run to left-center field giving the Reds a 5-0 lead in the first inning.
It was nice to see Bruce with the bases-clearing double after hitting into a rally ending double play in the ninth on Saturday night. In addition, after getting Saturday night off, Frazier’s first inning homer just reinforced that the Reds came into play on Sunday meaning business.
The Reds would score six more times the rest of the way, giving some cushion to starter Bronson Arroyo (14-11) who didn’t have his sharpest outing, walking three and giving up two home runs in just five innings. Unlike Saturday night, the Reds were able to drive in the runners in scoring position from the start on Sunday and their defense was its usual self, flawless.
The win by the Reds gives them the edge in the hunt for home field advantage for a one-game playoff, if it comes to that, over the Pirates. Cincinnati has six games remaining on their schedule, all at home. The Mets start their three-game series in Cincinnati on Monday night. This three-game set will finish the season series against New York. Cincinnati swept the Mets back in June at New York and hope to do that again on their home grass with former Red Aaron Harang pitching against Johnny Cueto on Monday, Jon Niese against Mike Leake on Tuesday, and Daisuke Matzusaka against Greg Reynolds on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh will be playing in Chicago for the next three evenings, before heading to Cincinnati Friday evening for the season-ending, and likely wild-card playoff-deciding three games series at Great American Ballpark.
If the Cincinnati can keep seeing ‘Red’ for the next six games and pounding out the offense like they did today, it should make for a very interesting last week of the season going into the playoffs.