Graham Ashcraft struck out eight batters in 6.2 innings, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead he gave them, nor could they hold a lead that the offense supplied them in the 8th inning, either, as the Pirates came from behind twice to beat Cincinnati 5-4 in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
|Cincinnati Reds (46-71)
|Pittsburgh Pirates (47-72)
|W: Crowe (5-7) L: Kuhnel (2-2)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
After going in order in the 1st inning the Reds got to work in the 2nd. Mike Moustakas led off the inning with a single in his first at-bat since coming off of the injured list and he scored one pitch later when Nick Senzel crushed a 410-foot homer into left field to put Cincinnati ahead 2-0. That’s where the score remained until the top of the 5th inning when TJ Friedl cracked a home run of his own to extend the lead to 3-0.
After the Pirates tied the game up at 3-3 in the 7th, Cincinnati’s offense went back to work in the top of the 8th, but they got some help from Pittsburgh. Michael Papierski reached safely after a throw from Oneil Cruz pulled Michael Chavis off the bag at first. Jake Fraley grounded into a force out and then moved up to second base when Jonathan India followed up with a single. That led to a pitching chance to bring in Wil Crowe to face Kyle Farmer and after falling down 0-2 he lined a slider into right field for a go-ahead RBI single.
Graham Ashcraft was dominant through the first five innings, not allowing any runs as he held onto a 3-0 lead. But the Pirates got on the board in the 6th with two singles and a wild pitch that brought in Kevin Newman. In the next inning they would get back to work as Greg Allen, Bligh Madris, and Bryan Reynolds all singled. Alexis Diaz entered the inning with two on and two out, but he gave up a game-tying single to Ben Gamel before getting a ground out to end the inning. That closed the line on Ashcraft at 6.2 innings, three earned runs, a walk, and eight strikeouts.
When the 8th inning began the Reds held a 4-3 lead and Reiver Sanmartin took the mound and he made quick work of things, needing 11 pitches to retire the Pirates in order and hold the lead.
Joel Kuhnel entered for the 9th looking to pick up the save, but it wasn’t going to be easy after allowing a leadoff single. Pinch hitter Tucupita Marcano came off the bench and laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the tying run up to second base and also turned over the lineup for the Pirates. Kevin Newman then lined a double into center past a diving Albert Almora Jr. that tied the game up. That would be the final pitch for Kuhnel as David Bell called on Ross Detwiler out of the bullpen with the winning run now standing on second base with just one out. He would intentionally walk Bryan Reynolds to face Ben Gamel. Detwiler ran the count full before hitting Gamel in the arm to load the bases. Michael Chavis then lined a walk-off single into left field.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Saturday August 20th, 7:05pm ET
Justin Dunn (0-1, 8.64 ERA) vs Tyler Beede (1-2, 3.72 ERA)