Reds Take Gut Punch in 6-5 Loss to Pirates


Being in an early hole isn’t always a bad thing. You have time to make up the deficit. Granted, that’s not always the case as it was i the Reds last game when the Cards took ’em to the shed in a 10-0 loss. Being in a four-run hole makes things a little harder. That is what the Reds faced on Friday evening. And then end result this night would be more deflating than the last loss.

April 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Phillips (4) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. (Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

After the Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a Russell Martin single. Brandon Phillips launched his first of two home runs on the night, this one a solo shot to tie it at 1-1. Something you hear frequently is how important it is to hold the opponent the inning after you have scored. Well, Mike Leake was unable to do in the Pirates 2nd.

A pair of two-run singles, one to Neil Walker and another to eventual hero Andrew McCutchen, staked the Pirates to a 5-1 lead after only two innings. The Reds would begin to climb back into the game.

The Pirates conceded a run in the Reds 4th on a Devin Mesoraco ground out to make it 5-2 Buccos. Mesoraco would drive in the next run with a two-out double in the 6th, plating Zack Cozart. The lead was down to 5-3, advantage Pirates.

Phillips would hit home run #2 on the evening in the Reds half of the 7th. With lefty Tony Watson on for Pirates starter A.J. Burnett, BP drilled a Watson sinker in almost the same location as his first homer. This time, there was a man on and the Reds had knotted the game once again off of BP’s bat. This time, 5-5.

Then the gut punch came in the Pirates 7th. J.J. Hoover was brought in for Leake. On a 1-2 pitch, McCutchen drove a Hoover curveball into the left field seats. Pirates 6, Reds 5. That would be the final.

The Reds had a chance in the top of the 9th off Pirates closer Jason Grilli. With runners at first and second and two outs, Grilli would strike out BP to end the game. So much for a wishful trifecta of home runs for Phillips.

– After allowing those five runs in the first two innings, Leake drastically turned his game around for the better. Not only did he shutdown the Pirates offense over his final four innings, he threw 56 pitches in those four innings. He had thrown 40 in his first two.
– I think the scouting report on J.J. Hoover has definitely made its rounds throughout the league. After allowing only two home runs in 30.2 innings last season, Hoover has allowed 3 in 5.2 innings of work this season. He was saddled with his third loss of 2013.
– As noted during the broadcast, the absence of Sean Marshall was prevalent. Instead of Dusty being able to go to Marshall during the 7th, he was practically forced to go to Manny Parra to face the lefty-hitting Pedro Alvarez. The result was a five-pitch walk.
– In my game preview/thread, I showed the number of strikeouts both teams had. The Pirates and Reds were 2nd and 3rd in the number of strikeouts, respectively. That will change after this game as teh Reds whiffed 12 times while Pittsburgh only had 4 strikeouts.

Line Score

WP – Watson (1-0), LP- Hoover (0-3), SV – Grilli (4)

Box Score

Reds: a-Struck out for Ondrusek in the 9th.
Pirates: a-Flied out for Burnett, AJ in the 6th. b-Grounded into a forceout for Snider in the 7th.

2B: Mesoraco (1, Burnett, AJ).
HR: Phillips, B 2 (4, 2nd inning off Burnett, AJ, 0 on, 0 out; 7th inning off Watson, 1 on, 2 out).
TB: Choo; Phillips, B 8; Mesoraco 2; Votto; Hannahan 2; Bruce.
RBI: Phillips, B 3 (11), Mesoraco 2 (2).
2-out RBI: Mesoraco; Phillips, B 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Leake 3; Phillips, B.
Team RISP: 0-for-6.
Team LOB: 8.

PB: Mesoraco (1).
DP: 2 (Hannahan-Phillips, B-Votto 2).

2B: Jones, G (1, Hoover).
HR: McCutchen, A (2, 7th inning off Hoover, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Walker 2; Barmes; Alvarez; McCutchen, A 5; Jones, G 3; Marte, S 2; Martin; Snider.
RBI: Martin (1), Walker 2 (4), McCutchen, A 3 (9).
2-out RBI: Martin.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Alvarez; Barmes.
SAC: Burnett, AJ.
GIDP: Martin, Barmes.
Team RISP: 4-for-11.
Team LOB: 8.

SB: Marte, S (2, 2nd base off Leake/Mesoraco).

Parra, M pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

WP: Burnett, AJ 2.
HBP: Marte, S (by Leake).
Pitches-strikes: Leake 96-56, Hoover 14-11, Parra, M 5-1, Ondrusek 20-15, Burnett, AJ 106-65, Watson 28-16, Melancon 15-9, Grilli 24-14.
Groundouts-flyouts: Leake 9-3, Hoover 0-0, Parra, M 0-0, Ondrusek 3-0, Burnett, AJ 4-6, Watson 1-0, Melancon 2-0, Grilli 1-0.
Batters faced: Leake 29, Hoover 3, Parra, M 1, Ondrusek 5, Burnett, AJ 27, Watson 5, Melancon 3, Grilli 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Parra, M 1-0, Ondrusek 2-0.

Same two teams go at it again tomorrow with a 7:05 PM ET start time. Johnny Cueto takes the mound for the Reds and Jeff Locke will toe the slab for the Buccos.