Reds a menace to Pirates

The Associated Press

CINCINNATI – Josh Harrison still isn’t sure what constitutes a block at the plate.

All he knows is he was out in the eighth inning, falling just as short as his Pittsburgh Pirates did against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Jay Bruce hit an RBI triple in the ninth inning and Cincinnati capped a strong season-opening homestand, beating the Pirates 2-1.

Harrison was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Adam Duvall while trying to score the go-ahead run on John Jaso’s two-out single. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the tag, which was upheld, but Harrison wondered if catcher Devin Mesoraco illegally blocked the plate.

“It’s still a gray area,” Harrison said. “I don’t know what is. At the end of the day, that’s what they called. When I came around third, I was going outside. Then I had to change my lane, and I was going to slide and try to get my hand in there. It’s instinctive. You have to trust your gut. I feel like I did as much as I could to try to get around it.”

“At the end of the day, the game’s over. We had our chances,” he said.

That was Pittsburgh’s only hit in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

“I don’t think we were pressing,” Hurdle said. “We’ll go back and look at the tape to make sure guys weren’t rolling over, trying to do too much.”

Eugenio Suarez opened the Reds sixth with his fourth home run of the season, tying at 1.

Tim Melville, a non-roster player in spring training, made his major league debut for the Reds and looked nervous. The 26-year-old righty needed 37 pitches to negotiate a 20-minute, scoreless top of the first that ended with the bases loaded.

Melville threw 92 pitches, 55 of them for strikes, while lasting four innings. Pittsburgh stranded eight runners against him, six in scoring position.

Jeff Locke allowed one run in six innings in his season debut.

Chris Stewart, batting for the first time this season, homered in the Pirates second.

Missed it by that much

The Pirates missed a chance at being 5-1 for the first time since 2003, when they went on to finish 75-87.

Health report

Pirates: Stewart played for the first time this season while C Francisco Cervelli got his first day off.

Reds: Manager Bryan Price still hopes RHP Anthony DeSclafani can start on Friday in St. Louis. But Price said Sunday that the longer DeSclafani is sidelined with his left oblique strain, the more likely it is that he’ll need a rehab assignment.

What’s on tap

Pirates: Former Mets LHP Jon Niese makes his second start of the season and first of his career at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Monday. Niese last pitched against Detroit in 2010 with the Mets.

Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan makes his first career appearance against the Cubs as Cincinnati opens its first road trip of the season. Finnegan got no-decision vs. the Phillies on Wednesday.