|Pittsburgh Pirates (4-14)
|Cincinnati Reds (9-11)
|W: Gray (4-1) L: Kuhl (0-1)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Another outstanding start by Sonny Gray helped lead the Cincinnati Reds (9-11) to a win on Friday night. The offense was led by Jesse Winker’s multi-homer game, but it was a 3-run blast by Nick Castellanos in the 7th inning that put the game away against the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-14).
After the Reds went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 1st inning, Jesse Winker unloaded a 362-foot homer into the left field seats to lead off the inning and put Cincinnati up 1-0. In the 3rd inning Kyle Farmer singled and followed it up with a steal of second, and he moved up to third on a passed ball, but was stranded there after a strikeout and ground out to end the inning.
The Pirates tied the game up in the top of the 4th, but the Reds offense wasn’t feeling a tie game for very long. Joey Votto led off the bottom of the inning with a double and that set up the second Wink-show of the night, pulling a 2-run homer deep into the walk-way between sections 141 and 142 in right field to put Cincinnati ahead 3-1.
Josh VanMeter led off the 7th inning with a double into right-center to try and get something going for the bullpen to have a little more breathing room. Freddy Galvis followed up with an infield single to put runners on the corners for Tucker Barnhart with no outs. He hit one hard, but a diving stop by the Pirates second baseman kept it on the infield and he got a force out at second, but Barnhart beat the return throw to the bag and VanMeter scored to make it 4-1. Shogo Akiyama kept things going by picking up his first hit of the night, a line drive single into center to put two on for Nick Castellanos. Some nights an inch is as good as a mile, and on this night that inch mattered as Castellanos put the ball over the center field wall, just out of the reach of a leaping Cole Tucker by a literal inch. A 2-run lead to start the inning ballooned to a 6-run lead.
Cincinnati’s offense wasn’t done. With two outs the Reds got back-to-back doubles from Freddy Galvis and Tucker Barnhart to make it 8-1, but that was all they would get in the inning, sending the game to the 9th hoping to hold onto a 7-run lead.
Sonny Gray worked around a 2-out, 8-pitch walk to Josh Bell in the 1st inning. After being handed a 1-0 lead thanks to Jesse Winker 4th homer of the year he worked around another 2-out baserunner after Erik González doubled into right field by getting Cole Tucker to ground out. The 3rd inning was a 1-2-3 effort.
In the bottom of the 4th inning the Pirates finally got through against Sonny Gray, who once again ran into an issue with two outs. After getting ahead of Bryan Reynolds 0-1, a fastball on the inside corner was hit into the stands under the power stacks in center field to tie the game up at 1-1. Another homer by Jesse Winker put the Reds back on top and Gray worked around a 1-out single to hold onto the 3-1 lead in the 5th inning. A leadoff single by Kevin Newman in the 6th inning brought the tying run to the plate. Josh Bell followed up with grounder to a diving Josh VanMeter to move Newman to second, and Colin Moran did the same thing to place Newman at third but recorded two outs in the process. Gray then got Reynolds to strike out to strand the runner and hold onto a 3-1 lead.
With 99 pitches under his belt Sonny Gray came back out to begin the 7th inning. He needed three pitches to retire Gregory Polanco on a lazy fly ball to Nick Senzel in center. Three pitches later it was Erik González walking back to the dugout after striking out. Cole Tucker jumped ahead of Gray 2-1 before lining a single into right field. That was the end of the night for Gray, throwing 110 pitches in 6.2 innings of 1-run baseball with a walk and 10 strikeouts. Nate Jones came out of the bullpen to face Jacob Stallings with a runner on. It wasn’t easy as Stallings hit an absolute bullet, 104 MPH off of the bat on a line into left field, but Shogo Akiyama showed good range as he made a running grab at the warning track to end the inning and help keep the Reds on top 3-1.
Tyler Thornburg, who was just called up from Prasco Park earlier in the day, came out for the 8th inning and needed 12 pitches to pick up two strikeouts and a lineout for a clean inning to hold onto the lead for the Reds. The new right-handed reliever returned for the 9th inning and began by locking up Colin Moran on a 78 MPH breaking ball on the inside corner. He got the next two htiters to line out and ground out to end the game, racking up a perfect 2-inning performance in his Reds debut to seal the win.
Notes worth noting
A part of the COVID-19 screening process, Jesse Winker was given a temperature check after the game and it registered as 5779° Kelvin. The temperature of the sun, for the record, is 5778° Kelvin.
Speaking of Jesse Winker being hotter than the sun, he’s hitting .365/.484/.712 on the season right now after going 2-3 with two homers and a walk.
Sonny Gray extended his Major League record number of starts with less than 7 hits allowed to 38 games in a row.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds
Saturday August 15th, 6:10pm ET
Steven Brault (0-0, 5.14 ERA) vs Trevor Bauer (2-0, 0.93 ERA)