PITTSBURGH— The Cincinnati Reds went from cellar-dwellers to division contenders in the four months since they last played the Pirates. They showed that transformation on Friday night with a dominant 9-2 win. Cincinnati hit Pirates’ starter Johan Oviedo around, while Reds’ rookie ace Andrew Abbott delivered an excellent performance.
Cincinnati jumped on Oviedo in the first, with infield phenomenon Elly De La Cruz hitting a two-run triple that helped the Redlegs open a 3-0 lead.
Oviedo steadied from there, retiring 10 of the next 11 batters he faced, but he ran into trouble in the fourth, when Reds’ catcher Luke Maile hit a three-run homer to put Cincinnati up 6-0 over Pittsburgh (52-64).
Bryan Reynolds reached on a weak ground ball—ruled a hit—that third baseman Spencer Steer overran in the bottom of the inning, the first base runner Abbott allowed.
Ke’Bryan Hayes drilled a high fastball for a solo home run with two outs in the sixth. Bryan Reynolds doubled, queueing a mound visit for Abbott and the Reds. Andrew McCutchen singled Reynolds home, prompting Reds’ manager David Bell to bring in right-hander Derek Law, who kept the score at 6-2.
The Reds began the eighth with consecutive singles. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, and a TJ Friedl single plated a run. Pirates reliever Colin Selby struck out Matt McLain on three pitches after a mound visit, but two-out singles from De La Cruz and Steer put the Reds up 9-2.
With two on and one out in the fourth, Oviedo had a chance to keep the Pirates in it by working his way out of a jam. Instead, he gave up a three-run homer to Maile, the Reds’ nine-hole hitter. Cincinnati got their insurance runs out of the way early, building an insurmountable 6-0 lead.
Star of the Game:
Abbott, who allowed four hits and two runs across 5.2 innings while striking out nine Pirates.
Stat of Interest:
Pittsburgh drops to 2-3 on the season when wearing their City Connect jerseys. They’ve lost three in a row wearing the new threads.
Johan Oviedo earned a pitch clock violation for the fourth consecutive start. Six of his ten violations this season came in the past four games.
Ke’Bryan Hayes now has three homers in his past four games.
Oviedo hit three batters, giving him the National League lead in the category (10).
The Pirates look to tie their series with the Reds starting at 7:05 pm Saturday. Pittsburgh hasn’t announced their starter yet, while Cincinnati will send out left-hander Brandon Williamson (4-2, 4.54 ERA, 64 SO).