Suarez’s grand slam helps sink Pirates
National League: Cincinnati 5, Pittsburgh 5
CINCINNATI — Eugenio Suarez wanted to hit one deep enough to get the runner in from third base. He got all of a hanging slider — and four runs with one swing.
Suarez hit a grand slam off Ivan Nova, who dropped his sixth straight start against Cincinnati, and Jesse Winker added a solo shot Thursday as the Reds pulled away to a 5-4 victory over the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates.
Suarez’s third career grand slam off Nova (2-5) went farther than he’d hoped, landing a few rows deep in the left field seats.
“If there’s a guy on third and less than two outs, I’ll at least try to get a sacrifice fly,” said Suarez, who leads the team with 38 RBIs. “It was a breaking ball down and it. I was able to catch it right at the break.”
The Reds took two of three in the series, completing a 3-4 homestand. Pittsburgh has dropped five of six.
Luis Castillo (4-4) gave up four hits in six innings, including a two-run homer by David Freese. Castillo has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts.
Austin Meadows hit his second homer of the series, a two-run shot off Amir Garrett in the ninth that cut it to 5-4. Jared Hughes got the last two outs for his second save. The Reds are without closer Raisel Iglesias, who went on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained biceps in his non-throwing arm.
Nova had another tough time against the Reds, extending his streak into a new season. The right-hander lost his last start against Cincinnati in 2016 and went 0-4 in four starts last year, three of them at Great American Ball Park. He had a big role in his latest undoing.
Nova hadn’t walked a batter in his last two starts, but opened the third inning by walking Castillo. He also had a throwing error on Scooter Gennett’s comeback grounder that helped the Reds load the bases. Suarez hit his third career grand slam on a hanging slider.
“I’m just missing,” Nova said. “In the first few innings, I felt really good. I got into that one inning, and I walk the pitcher to start the inning. On the groundball, I miss (retiring) the guy at first base.”
It’s been a rough month all around for the most experienced starter on the staff. Nova is 0-4 in five May starts with a 7.60 ERA.
“He’s the healthiest he’s been,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s just inconsistency. That’s kind of where we are. He’s doing everything he can to get himself in a better place.”
Winker homered off Nova in the fifth inning for a 5-0 lead.
Suarez’s grand slam was the Reds’ second of the season. Gennett has the other — also against the Pirates. He connected in Cincinnati’s series-opening 7-2 win on Tuesday.
Meadows is 11 for 25 in his first six major league games including two doubles, three homers and five RBIs. He had three hits Thursday — a single, double and homer.
Pirates leadoff hitter Josh Harrison went 0 for 4, a day after he had four hits including a game-winning triple in the 12th inning. Harrison missed 30 games with a broken left hand. In four games back, he’s gone 8 for 19.
The Reds are 15-18 under interim manager Jim Riggleman, who took over when Bryan Price was fired on April 19.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was available to pinch hit. He hurt his right hand while catching in the 10th inning of Pittsburgh’s 5-4 win on Wednesday night and came out of the game in the 12th.
Reds: Joey Votto got a day of rest from the starting lineup, but pinch hit and drew a walk. He’s 5 for 27 in his last nine games with seven strikeouts. His 1,480th appearance tied Dan Driessen for ninth on the Reds’ career list. Frank Robinson is eighth with 1,502 games.
Pirates: Joe Musgrove (0-0) comes off the DL and starts against the Cardinals at PNC Park as Pittsburgh begins a six-game homestand. Musgrove has been sidelined since spring training by a strained right shoulder.