The Cincinnati Reds (18-23) had three hits, made two errors, and blew one save in their loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates (13-26) on Sunday afternoon. Nick Castellanos provided the offense with a thunderous homer early on, but Raisel Iglesias blew the save in the 9th inning after bailing out the bullpen in the 8th. Like much of the 2020 season for Cincinnati – nothing went right.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (18-23)
2 3 2
Pittsburgh Pirates (13-26)
3 9 0
W: Rodriguez (1-2) L: Iglesias (2-3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

Cincinnati had three walks in the first two innings of the game, but they couldn’t put together a hit and all of the runners were stranded on the bases. Joey Votto walked to lead off the 3rd inning, giving them four walks before they had a hit in the game. But that didn’t last much longer as Nick Castellanos took a 1-0 pitch from Chad Kuhl and crushed it 429 feet over the Reds bullpen for a 2-run homer to put Cincinnati on top 2-0.

The offense was rather quiet from there, though – putting up zeroes in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. Three hits on the day. Three whole hits in what was a must win game against the team with the worst record in baseball that ran out six pitchers on the day.

The Pitching

Erik Gonzalez doubled on a blooper to center field to lead off the 1st inning, but Tejay Antone avoided trouble by striking out Gregory Polanco to end the inning. The Pirates would get a leadoff walk in the 2nd, but Antone erased the baserunner two pitches later with a ground ball double play before getting a fly out to end the inning.

It was the 3rd inning that got the Pirates on the board. After striking out the first two hitters of the inning, Adam Frazier lined a single into left field against the shift and he moved up to second base on a wild pitch by Tejay Antone. Bryan Reynolds then singled to bring the runner home to make it a 2-1 game. Colin Moran was hit by a pitch to put two runners on, but Antone locked in and struck out Polanco for the second time on the afternoon. That was the last real trouble that he faced in the game, completing 5.0 innings of 1-run baseball before turning the game over to Amir Garrett.

The left-handed relieving Garrett came on for the 6th inning and went 1-2-3 against Pittsburgh to keep the game at 2-1 for Cincinnati. Nate Jones came out for the 7th inning and picked up where Garrett left off, retiring all three hitters he faced in the inning and sending the game to the 8th.

Michael Lorenzen came out for the 8th inning and things got tough rather quickly for the Reds. Erik Gonzalez, who has basically been Kelly Leak during this series, singled to lead off the inning. After Adam Frazier grounded into a force out, Lorenzen walked Bryan Reynolds on four pitches to put the tying run at second and the go-ahead run on first. That was all David Bell needed to see as he made the call to the bullpen to bring in Raisel Iglesias to try and put out the fire. He struck out Colin Moran on three pitches for the second out of the inning, bringing up Gregory Polanco who had already struck out twice earlier today against Tejay Antone. Iglesias didn’t get a strikeout, but he got the job done by getting the Pirates right fielder to fly out to Shogo Akiyama in center to strand the runners and send the game to the 9th.

Raisel Iglesias returned for the 9th inning to try and pick up the save. The inning began with a single by Josh Bell on an 0-2 count. Ke’Bryan Hayes followed with a single of his own to put two on and no out. A third single followed to tie the game up and both runners advanced a base on the throw, getting to second and third. The brought Nick Castellanos into the infield to try and keep the winning run from scoring on a ground ball, but with just two outfielders anything out there likely gets the job done for Pittsburgh.

The plan worked for the Reds against pinch hitter Kevin Newman. Raisel Iglesias shattered his bat on a ground ball right back to him. He came home with the throw and Curt Casali chased Hayes down back at the bag at third for the first out. But Reds killer out of nowhere Erik Gonzalez lined a ball to Shogo Akiyama out in right field, but his throw was off line and not close, leading to a walk-off sacrifice fly for a Pirates win.

Notes worth noting

Will the BABIP God’s ever look at the 2020 Reds with empathy?

The Cincinnati Reds entered the game with the lowest BABIP in the Major Leagues at .239. That is far and away the lowest in all of baseball – by a whole 20 points. Today saw them go, in BABIP terms, 2-17. That’s a .118 BABIP on the day.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs

Tuesday September 8th, 8:15pm ET

Tyler Mahle (1-1, 3.90 ERA) vs TBA