Cincinnati Reds Lose 13th Straight to Pirates in Extras

W: Arquimedes Caminero (5-1)

L: Collin Balester (1-1)

Another day, another loss. The Cincinnati Reds dropped their 13th straight game on Friday night, blowing a 4-0 lead en route to a 12-inning loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The loss assures that the Reds will have at least the No. 2 pick in next year’s draft, and they sit just half of a game back of the Philadelphia Phillies for the top pick. For those curious, the first pick would go to the Phillies in the case of a tie since they had a worse 2014 record.

Offense: The Reds raced out to a four-run lead early on against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano. Eugenio Suarez got the scoring started with a two-run homer to straightaway center field in the second inning. They tacked on two more runs in the third. Joey Votto started the rally with a single, extending his on-base streak to 48 games to tie Pete Rose‘s team record. He moved up on a single by Brandon Phillips and scored on a double by Jay Bruce. Phillips would then score on a single by Suarez on what would prove to be the Reds’ final run of the night. Cincinnati would only pick up four hits the remainder of the game. In all, the Reds had had 11 hits, two each from Phillips, Bruce, Suarez, Adam Duvall and Ramon Cabrera.

Starting Pitching: Keyvius Sampson pitched well through five innings, allowing only one run — a solo home run by Andrew McCutchen — one hit and one walk, but everything fell apart in the sixth. The rookie couldn’t record an out in the inning, allowing singles to Starling Marte and McCutchen before walking Aramis Ramirez to load the bases. Sampson’s bullpen did him no favors, allowing all three inherited runners to score, tying the game at four.

Bullpen: Tony Cingrani was the first man called on to relieve Sampson and promptly walked the first batter he faced, Michael Morse, to force a run home. Cingrani would allow another run to score on a fielder’s choice before his exit. Jumbo Diaz allowed another run on a single by Francisco Cervelli to tie the game, but struck out two to avoid further damage. Ryan Mattheus, Carlos Contreras, Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure and Collin Balester held the Pirates scoreless through the 11th inning. But Balester was sent back out for the 12th and didn’t fare so well against the meat of the Pirates lineup, walking Gregory Polanco before giving up a walk-off blast to Marte to seal the Reds’ 13th straight defeat.

Other Notes:

  • Phillips was lifted in the seventh for a pinch runner due to an apparent injury. His status for Saturday’s game is unknown.
  • Sampson nearly had his first big league hit on a solid line drive in the second inning, but was thrown out at first base by right fielder Polanco.
  • Tyler Holt, who has 152 career minor league stolen bases, swiped his first bag in a Reds uniform in the fourth inning.

Up Next: The Reds and Pirates square off again on Saturday in the penultimate regular season game of the year. Brandon Finnegan will make his final start of the year as he faces A.J. Burnett, who will be making the last regular-season start of his career. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

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