The Pittsburgh Pirates relied on the longball, slugging three home runs in their 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series.
The Pirates (52-88) struck early when Bryan Reynolds launched a solo home run into the second deck of the left field bleachers to put the Bucs ahead 1-0 in the first inning. It was the first of two hits on the night for Reynolds.
After Aristides Aquino gave the Reds (56-83) a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning with a two-run shot, the Pirates quickly took the lead back.
Kevin Newman and Reynolds singled to begin the top of the fifth, and Rodolfo Castro hit a towering shot to left which cleared the fence. Castro’s three-run shot extended his hitting streak to four games.
The Pirates third homer of the game came later in the inning, when Diego Castillo, in his first game since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, hit a two-run shot to put the Bucs ahead 6-2.
All three of the Pirates’ homers came against Reds starter Mike Minor (4-11), who allowed six runs (four earned) in five innings.
Bryse Wilson (3-8) ran into some trouble in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Alejo Lopez bounced one up the middle, and Newman couldn’t get a handle on the throw which resulted in a run for the Reds.
Manager Derek Shelton went to Robert Stephenson in the bullpen, and Stephenson was able to retire Nick Senzel to end the inning.
In total, Wilson went 5.2 innings, allowed three runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out four. He threw 82 pitches/51 strikes.
Ke’Bryan Hayes went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles in the win for the Bucs.
The Pirates and Reds will play a doubleheader on Tuesday with the first game beginning at 12:35 followed by the tail-end starting at 6:35.
Pittsburgh will pitch Johan Oviedo (2-3, 3.90 ERA) and Luis Ortiz (MLB debut), though the order is TBD. The Reds will start Luis Cessa (3-2, 4.97 ERA) in the first game. Cincinnati’s second game starter is TBD.
- Way To Take Advantage: Throughout its history since opening in 2003, Great American Ball Park has been considered an extreme hitter-friendly park. Entering play, there had been 186 home runs hits in Cincinnati’s home yard this season, tied with Yankee Stadium and Coors Field for the most in the major leagues. The Bucs took advantage as their three homers paved the way to their victory.
- Late Inning Drama: In each of their games over the weekend, the Pirates held a lead in the eighth inning or later but ultimately dropped both contests to the St. Louis Cardinals. In this one against the Reds, Wil Crowe pitched a scoreless eighth inning and went back out for the ninth. After allowing the first two hitters to reach, Crowe retired the next three to pick up his fourth save of the season. It took Crowe 44 pitches to get through the final two frames.
- Key To The Steal City: Hayes stole second and third base in the fifth inning, giving him 17 on the season That mark is tied for the ninth-most in the National League with three others players — Jake McCarthy (Diamondbacks), J.T. Realmuto (Phillies) and Dansby Swanson (Braves). It also marked the first time in Hayes’ career that he has had multiple steals in a game.