Cincinnati Reds Fall 5-4 to Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates


5. 4. 4. 61.

W: Jeff Locke (6-6)

L: Michael Lorenzen (3-6)

SV: Mark Melancon (33)

Starling Marte is quickly becoming a thorn in the side of the Cincinnati Reds. The left fielder made a pair of amazing defensive plays in the ninth inning to preserve a 5-4 win for his Pirates over the Reds on Friday night.

The first came with one out, when Marte threw out Brandon Phillips at the plate trying to score on Todd Frazier‘s single. Marte made another great play to end the game, making a diving catch to rob Marlon Byrd of a game-tying hit.

Despite the defensive gems from the Pirates, the Reds didn’t help themselves out in the ninth inning, either. After Phillips led the inning off with a single, manager Bryan Price called for Jason Bourgeois to lay down a sacrifice bunt rather than turning to Jay Bruce—one of his best hitters—to pinch hit.

More from Blog Red Machine

The second big gaffe came from another Reds coach, as Jim Riggleman sent Phillips home on Frazier’s single with one out. Marte made a perfect throw to nail Phillips, but even a subpar toss would’ve gotten him, as he wound up being out by about 30 feet.

The Reds actually held the lead for the better part of the game, jumping ahead 2-1 on a two-run home run from Ivan De Jesus Jr. and tacking on another run on a bases-loaded ground out by Bourgeois.

Starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen couldn’t hold the lead, however, as he again struggled to pitch deep into a game.

He was able to keep the Pirates at bay through the first three innings, an RBI ground-rule double from Jung Ho Kang being the only mark against him. Kang struck for another double in the fourth inning and scored on a Pedro Alvarez single to make it 3-2. Andrew McCutchen tied it up in the fifth with a solo home run.

Lorenzen allowed a third double to Kang in the sixth and couldn’t get out of the inning despite retiring the next two hitters. After an intentional walk to Francisco Cervelli, Lorenzen was removed from the game after he walked pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa, who was hitting .179/.273/.333 coming into the game.

Jumbo Diaz entered and couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing one run to score on a wild pitch and another on a single by Marte. A bigger inning was prevented when Bourgeois threw out a second runner at the plate on Marte’s hit. Lorenzen was ultimately charged with five runs on six hits and three walks, striking out six.

The Reds were able inch closer in the bottom of the sixth when Byrd hit a solo shot to center field, his second in as many days and 18th of the season, but they weren’t able to push the tying run across the plate.

Other Notes:

  • The ninth inning wasn’t the only time the Reds were robbed by the Pirates defense. With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Brayan Pena scorched a line drive up the middle that seemed certain to tie the game, at the very least, but the ball managed to find pitcher Joakim Soria‘s glove to end the inning.
  • Joey Votto continued to be an on-base machine, walking four times in the game. He now has more walks (77) than strikeouts this season (76).
  • Everyone in the Reds’ lineup had a hit except for Billy Hamilton and Votto (but hey, you can’t complain about four walks). Phillips, Frazier, and Byrd all had two-hit nights.

Up Next: Raisel Iglesias will take the hill as the Reds face the Pirates in game three of the series on Saturday. The right-hander will be opposed by Gerrit Cole, who the Reds have had a good deal of success against this year. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m EST.

Next: Reds trade Mike Leake to Giants