For the second straight day, rain impeded the game. This five-hour contest wound up with the wrong outcome for the Cincinnati Reds as they fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 12 innings by a final of 4-3.
From the onset, it was the Billy Hamilton show. Leading off the game with a double, Hamilton would swipe third before coming home on a sacrifice fly to give the Reds an early 1-0 advantage. While that would be his only hit of the afternoon, his impact on the game was just beginning.
The Reds used the exact same formula to get on the board in the fourth as Joey Votto led off the inning with a double, and then eventually came around on a sacrifice fly from Jay Bruce for the second run.
Pirates’ starter Jeff Locke would exit with a quality start, befallen only by those two leadoff doubles. It is entirely possible that the bats were just a bit unfocused after playing the entirety of the game on Wednesday evening before coming back for an early start time on Thursday.
Through three innings, Homer Bailey had faced nine batters and retired each. There was just a glint of optimism that he could once again strike gold while inside PNC Park’s immense walls, but those pipedreams were quickly dashed away on a single from phenom Gregory Polanco to lead off the fourth.
After looking untouchable through the front three frames, Bailey would allow nine hits over his next 2.2 innings.
Things would fall apart for Bailey in the fifth. Giving up bloop basehits to backups Clint Barmes and Chris Stewart set the table for the top of the order, who did not miss the opportunity to produce. After Bailey balked home the first runner of the inning, Polanco, Starling Marte, and Andrew McCutchen laced base hits, with the latter two being of the run-scoring variety. Bailey would once again be unable to hold the lead.
To signify that it truly was not Bailey’s afternoon, he would finish the day walking his opposite in Locke to load the bases in the bottom of the sixth. As he trotted off the mound, the skies opened as they usually do while the Redlegs are in Pittsburgh.
After the 35-minute delay, Sam LeCure would grit his teeth and retire the only batter he would face on the day. It was impossible to know at the time, but this would cost the Reds in the end to not have LeCure available for more than one batter.
Try as they may, the Redlegs could not crack the code of Pirates pitching–until the ninth inning that is. On the day of his birth 26 years ago, Devin Mesoraco must have been hoping and praying for an inside fastball to come his way. Pirates closer Jason Grilli complied and Mesoraco had himself a birthday gift of his own, crushing the Reds back to a tied score.
Not having pitched over the last five days, Jonathan Broxton was understandably quite rusty when he appeared in a tied game in the ninth. Pinch-hitter, outfielder, relief pitcher, Travis Snider seemed poised to end the contest on a deep smash to dead centerfield. Billy Hamilton trekked back as far as he possibly could and leaped—and crashed into the wall with the ball in his glove. The man whom everyone was concerned about in centerfield had made yet another Gold Glove-like play.
Hamilton’s snare would not be the only game-saving moment in the ninth inning, as after Broxton was unable to finish the job, Bryan Price made the bold decision of turning the game over to his closer in a “non-save” situation. It was the Reds’ best against the Pirates’ best in Chapman vs. McCutchen. The at-bat ended in the reigning National League MVP staring at Devin Mesoraco’s glove as Chapman had dropped a changeup by him to end the inning.
Todd Frazier singled in the 11th for what would be the Reds’ only wisp of offense in extra innings, but he was thrown out on the basepaths.
Controversy reigned supreme in the bottom of the 12th, after Tony Cingrani had seemingly nabbed Gaby Sanchez off of first base.
Immediately, first base umpire Jerry Layne signaled for a balk, although it appeared Cingrani had done nothing out of the ordinary from his usual antics.
Cingrani was unable to recover from the moment, ultimately walking Russell Martin with the bases loaded to force in the winning run and allow the Pirates to salvage a single game out of the series.
Having played as long as they did, especially on getaway day, the loss sits uncomfortably in the belly of the ballclub as they now head home for the weekend.
Getting underway at 7:10 p.m., the interleague series will be the second at home for Cincinnati so far this season.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds