After not winning a game in nearly two weeks, the Cincinnati Reds busted out a 7-run 8th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates to break their losing streak and pick up their 4th win of the season with a 9-2 victory. Later today they’ll go for the 5th win of the season as part of a day/night doubleheader.
|Pittsburgh Pirates (10-15)||2||8||3|
|Cincinnati Reds (4-22)||9||8||0|
|W: Sims (1-0) L: Crowe (1-2)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Cincinnati got things rolling early on. Brandon Drury singled with one out in the bottom of the 1st and moved up to second base on a throwing error. Mike Moustakas would walk and then both came around the bases to score on a 2-out double by Tyler Stephenson that put the Reds up 2-0.
The offense went silent after that for a while. In the 5th inning TJ Friedl and Tyler Naquin would walk to put two men on with one out, but JT Brubaker buckled down and got out of the jam and kept the Reds lead at 2-1.
With the game tied up at 2-2 and Josh VanMeter taking over behind the plate despite never having caught a professional game in his life, the Reds got the inning started out with Brandon Drury being hit by a pitch. Four pitches later a pitch in the dirt got away from VanMeter and Drury moved up to second base. Tommy Pham and Mike Moustakas both followed with a walk to load the bases with no outs. That brought Tyler Stephenson to the plate, and he got some help from the umpire after getting a very gracious call on a pitch that was clearly a strike and extended his at-bat before he doubled in two runs to put Cincinnati up 4-2.
Following the Stephenson double Colin Moran walked to load the bases. After Kyle Farmer struck out, TJ Friedl hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 5-2 for the Reds. Albert Almora Jr. then hit one up the middle that pitcher Beau Sulser couldn’t come up with and the bases were loaded once again. Tyler Naquin cleared the bases with a 3-run double off of the warning track in left-center to extend the lead to 8-2. Brandon Drury doubled in Naquin and Cincinnati’s season high run total went up to nine. The inning ended with a ground out to follow, but holding a 9-2 lead the team needed just three more outs without giving up a touchdown’s worth of runs to seal their first win in two weeks.
Connor Overton was perfect through the first two innings. But Diego Castillo singled to lead off the 3rd inning to break that up. He was erased on a double play that followed. But Roberto Perez singled and then scored when Ben Gamel doubled to cut the Reds lead in half to 2-1. In the 5th inning a Jake Marisnick double put the tying run in scoring position with two outs, but Overton picked up a strikeout to end the threat and the inning.
Things didn’t go as well the following frame. Ben Gamel singled to lead off the inning and moved up to second on a ground out. Ke’Bryan Hayes then singled into center to tie the game up. That also ended the day for Overton as the Reds turned to Luis Cessa to finish out the inning – and he did just that, needing just three pitches to do so. He didn’t need many more pitches than that to get through the 7th inning, either.
Lucas Sims came out for the 8th inning and he found himself in a jam rather quickly. Roberto Perez and Ben Gamel started the inning with back-to-back singles, but Perez injured himself rounding second base and had to exit the game. Sims then walked Bryan Reynolds to load the bases with no outs before a visit from Derek Johnson. He fell behind 2-0 to Ke’Bryan Hayes, but battled back with three straight strikes to fan him and record the first out of the inning. Daniel Vogelbach came up next, and Sims got him on a strikeout, too. Michael Chavis was the Pirates last hope, but he was yet another strikeout victim for Sims, who stranded all three runners to keep the game tied up at 2-2.
A huge bottom of the 8th inning put Cincinnati ahead 9-2. The Reds went to Hunter Strickland for the 9th to protect a big lead and try to seal their first win in two weeks. He did just that, working around a walk with three strikeouts.
Key Moment of the Game
Bases loaded, no outs, bottom of the 8th inning. Tyler Stephenson took pitch #4 of the at-bat and inexplicably it was called a ball instead of strike three. We’ll never know how things play out from there, but instead of having one out, the Pirates had to keep pitching to Stephenson and he would later double in two runs and the inning would then implode even further as Cincinnati put up a 7-spot in the inning.
Notes Worth Noting
The Reds scored 7 runs in the 8th inning. They had not scored 7 runs in a single game all season to that point.
Robert Dugger, who was scheduled to start Game 2 of the doubleheader tonight, was scratched from his start. Dauri Moreta will start the game for Cincinnati.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds
Saturday May 7th, 6:40pm ET
Mitch Keller (0-4, 5.32 ERA) vs TBA