Cincinnati Reds overcome three blown leads, break losing streak vs. Pirates

Apr 6, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Scott Schebler hits a two-run double to win the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Scott Schebler hits a two-run double to win the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds get back in the win column.

Despite three blown leads by the bullpen, the Reds were able to show resiliency and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday in PNC Park, snapping their six-game losing streak. Scott Schebler played the hero in the top of the 11th inning, smacking a double into right-center field to score Eugenio Suarez to put Cincinnati on top, 6-5. The only Reds reliever to not allow a run on the afternoon, Blake Wood locked the game down in the bottom of the inning to preserve the victory.

Here are some takes on the game:

Adleman impresses

The Reds couldn’t have asked any more from Tim Adleman on Sunday. In his first career start, the right-hander threw six innings, allowing just two runs on three hits, while striking out six and walking two. In a rare sight for Reds pitchers, the 28-year-old pounded the strike zone consistently all afternoon, throwing 59 of his 92 pitches for strikes. His only major mistake came in the fifth inning when he allowed a home run to Gregory Polanco. Given the current state of the Reds’ rotation — with Raisel Iglesias now on the disabled list, and Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey dealing with minor setbacks on their respective rehabs — Adleman is probably a lock to take the mound again in five days.

Ugly defense aids Reds

The Pirates had some truly awful defense on Sunday, committing four errors and making several other poor plays in the field. It came back to bite them the first time in the eighth inning, when Zack Cozart reached on a misplay by Polanco in right field. After a sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Tyler Holt to third and Joey Votto was intentionally walked, the Pirates seemingly got a gift when Votto was caught between first and second base on a steal attempt. Holt broke for home and should’ve been out by a mile, but catcher Chris Stewart dropped the ball to let the run score, giving the Reds a 4-3 lead. In the 11th, Suarez was able to lead off the inning with a triple when Starling Marte made an ill-advised diving attempt on a line drive to left field. On Schebler’s go-ahead hit two batters later, Polanco made a bad route to the ball in right, allowing it to roll all the way to the wall.

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Bullpen disaster rolls on

Despite the outstanding effort from Adleman, he wasn’t awarded with a win after exiting with a 3-1 lead. Tony Cingrani took over on the mound with a runner on first in the seventh inning and allowed a run-scoring triple to Sean Rodriguez with one out. After the southpaw walked the next batter, manager Bryan Price turned things over to Caleb Cotham, who has been the team’s most reliable bullpen arm so far. But he couldn’t keep his team in front, allowing a two-out bloop single to tie the game. The Reds were able to take the lead again in the top of the eighth, but Cotham blew it again in the bottom of the inning, giving up a leadoff single to Andrew McCutchen, who advanced to second on a ground out and scored on a single by Marte.

But wait, there’s more!

After Schebler hit his first RBI double of the game to give the Reds a 5-4 lead heading into the ninth, the club had its first save opportunity since J.J. Hoover was demoted from the closer position. Ross Ohlendorf got the call and retired the first two batters of the inning. Just when it looked like the losing streak would come to an end, he then gave up a game-tying homer to John Jaso.

Fortunately, two strong innings from Wood made the day look better for the bullpen, but it’s nearly unfathomable how bad the Reds’ bullpen has been this year. The group has now allowed a run in 19 straight games, but actually managed to lower their collective ERA to 6.16 on Sunday. Predictably, that’s still the worst mark in baseball by far.

(Injury) Notes:

  • Just when you think the Reds can’t have any worse luck with injuries, they keep piling up. Cozart was forced to leave the game in the eighth inning after appearing to hurt his right knee — the same one he injured last season — while running to second on an error. The news was good after the game, though, as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans reported he was removed due to tendinitis.
  • Adam Duvall also appeared to hurt himself while making a diving attempt on a fly ball in left field, as he crashed head-first into the wall. After a lengthy check-up, he stayed in the game.
  • Devin Mesoraco was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with left shoulder soreness. Tucker Barnhart once again started at catcher.