Sacrifice fly helps Cincinnati end losing skid
PITTSBURGH – The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had a whole lot to celebrate recently, which is why they took a little extra satisfaction in how they ended their five-game losing streak.
Rookie Jose Peraza’s sacrifice fly snapped a ninth-inning tie and lifted Cincinnati to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, giving the Reds just their third win in 12 games.
Eugenio Suarez hit a leadoff single off closer Tony Watson (2-5), advanced to second on Ramon Cabrera’s sacrifice bunt, took third on Tyler Holt’s single and scored on Peraza’s liner to center field.
“It just shows you that we don’t give up,” Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. “We try to win every game. We’re in a lot of games, but we just don’t finish. But today, we got to finish and it really shows that we have a heart.”
Andrew McCutchen pulled the Pirates into a tie in the bottom of the eighth with a sacrifice fly off Raisel Iglesias (3-1). Iglesias hit the first two batters in the ninth but escaped a bases-loaded jam by getting Josh Harrison to pop out and pinch-hitter Adam Frazier to fly out.
“What I was really pleased with is we bring in Iglesias there in the eighth and our guys immediately came back,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “So, they’re right there with their best pitcher on the mound, their best relief pitcher, in that situation, after kind of a bummer, giving up the lead, and then coming back is big.”
Harrison swung at the first pitch, even after Iglesias’ wildness, but did not second guess his decision.
“He threw me a slider and I thought it was a pitch I could drive,” Harrison said. “I just got under it. If I hit another half-inch or so on the bat, it could have been a sacrifice fly and we win the game. I wasn’t upset about it. It was a hittable pitch and I didn’t get the job done.”
Joey Votto had three hits for the Reds, Suarez had two and Phillips hit his 10th home run, a leadoff shot in the seventh off Jared Hughes that put Cincinnati ahead 3-2.
Gregory Polanco had three hits, including two doubles, but couldn’t stop the Pirates from losing for the ninth time in 11 games as they continued to fade from the National League wild card race.
Harrison and Jordy Mercer added two hits each. Harrison extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI double in the third that drew the Pirates into a 1-1 tie. He scored on McCutchen’s sac fly after leading off the eighth with a single.
Reds rookie starter Tim Adleman allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings with three walks and no strikeouts. He picked off two runners and had two hits, doubling in the third inning and scoring the game’s first run on Votto’s single. He hit an RBI single in the fourth to snap a 1-1 tie.
When asked if Adleman could potentially be used as a pinch-hitter, Price cracked, “He will, in probably the 34th inning of an extra inning game.”
Pirates rookie left-hander Steven Brault remained winless in five career starts, giving up two runs and five hits in five innings while walking two and striking out two.