The Cincinnati Reds (17-17) are now 3-0-2 in their last five series after defeating the Pirates (15-21) 5-1 in 10 innings on Wednesday afternoon to clinch the series victory.
The road trip now takes a turn out west to Denver for a four game series against the Rockies beginning Thursday night at 8:40 p.m. Eastern Time. The four game set at Coors Field will cap off a 10-day, 9-game road trip, but there is no rest in sight for Cincinnati. The next scheduled off day for the Reds doesn’t come until Sunday the 24th.
Out in Colorado, David Bell decided to flip Wade Miley and Luis Castillo in the pitching rotation to give Miley an additional day off after his no-hitter. Castillo will now pitch Thursday night with Miley going on Friday. Tyler Mahle and Jeff Hoffman will throw Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Offensive Explosion Fuels Game 1 Win
The Reds got at least one hit from all nine starters, including Tyler Mahle, on Monday night on their way to a 14-1 victory over the Pirates. A grand total of 15 hits contributed to the 14 runs as Cincinnati won their eighth straight game against the Pirates dating back to last season.
Eugenio Suarez started the scoring off with a solo home run in the second inning before the game blew up in top of the fourth. Mike Moustakas and Tyler Naquin drove in runners with back-to-back hits, Tucker Barnhart drove in two with a double to deep left-center field, and Nick Senzel capped off the big inning with an RBI single. The six-spot in the inning gave Cincinnati a 7-1 advantage but they were not done.
? CLANK ?
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 11, 2021
A three-run home run off the foul pole in the seventh off the bat of Tyler Naquin highlighted the rest of the scoring. In the end, Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Mike Moustakas, Tyler Naquin, Tucker Barnhart, and Kyle Farmer all contributed multi-hit games.
Tyler Mahle, who was 1-2 at the plate with an RBI, also got the job done on the mound. Mahle moved to 2-1 on the season while lowering his earned run average to an even 3.00 by allowing just one run on four hits in five and one-third innings.
Poor Baserunning Dooms the Reds
Cincinnati fans are unfortunately accustomed to bad decisions on the base paths. That recurring issue reared its ugly head Tuesday evening two different times in the Reds 7-2 loss to even the series against the Pirates.
On a 3-0 count to Jesse Winker in the third inning, Nick Senzel was asked to steal second base and was thrown out for the fifth time in seven tries this season. First of all, it is becoming apparent that despite his speed, Senzel simply isn’t a very good base stealer. Secondly, there is a very good chance that on a 3-0 pitch you are going to get an easy-to-handle fastball in the strike zone that will give the catcher a good opportunity to throw out the runner. Last but not least, with arguably one of the best hitters in all of baseball at the plate there is no reason to take any chances on the base paths. To make matters worse, two pitches after Senzel was thrown out, Winker launched a 438-foot home run that ended up in the Ohio River.
Cry me a river. pic.twitter.com/86ghSdpqBP
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 11, 2021
The Pirates would go on to build a 4-1 lead off of Jeff Hoffman and Ryan Hendrix before the Reds struck again in the eighth inning.
Following a leadoff single from Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker doubled to left field which scored Winker to cut the Pittsburgh lead to 4-2. However, instead of having a runner on second base with no outs and Nick Castellanos at the plate, Winker tried to advance to third on the throw home and was thrown out by a mile. Castellanos struck out and Mike Moustakas flew out to end the inning, but the base running blunder cut any momentum before the comeback could even get started.
The loss to Pittsburgh was the Reds first of the season to the Pirates who until Tuesday night they had outscored 44-9.
The Rubber Match
Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match turned into a battle of the bullpens. Cincinnati’s starter Sonny Gray, who was excellent in his last start, made it through just four and two-thirds innings despite allowing only one run. Gray gave up seven hits, walked two, and threw four wild pitches. The command clearly wasn’t there but he was able to scratch his way through two outs in the fifth before turning the ball over to the bullpen.
On the opposing side, Trevor Cahill threw five and one-third innings of three hit, one run baseball.
The bullpens would go back and forth through nine innings and headed to extras still all tied up at one run a piece. Tejay Antone, Sean Doolittle, Lucas Sims, and Heath Hembree combined to throw a perfect five and one-third innings to retire the final 16 batters while striking out nine batters.
The Reds jumped on the scoreboard right away in extra innings. With Nick Senzel at second base, Jesse Winker singled to score Senzel to take a 2-1 advantage. Nick Castellanos then singled to put runners at the corners and Mike Moustakas walked to load the bases with nobody out.
Extra innings = extra fun pic.twitter.com/MFGlabThHH
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 12, 2021
After a double switch, the Reds had used all of their position players so David Bell called upon Mr. No-Hitter Wade Miley to hit in Lucas Sims’ spot with the bases juiced. Miley popped up in the infield for the first out of the inning.
After the Miley pop fly, Eugenio Suarez emptied the bases with a double into the left-centerfield gap to give the Redlegs a 5-1 lead. Suarez has now hit safely in each game this series and has back-to-back multi-hit games. He may finally be coming out of his brutal slump after going 5-14 with a home run and four runs batted in against the Pirates.
Heath Hembree slammed the door shut in the bottom of the 10th inning to complete the dominant performance by the Reds bullpen and secure the 5-1 win to take the series in Pittsburgh.