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Pirates Offense Muffled; Drop Series to Reds 3-1 on Sunday

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Vince Velasquez

The Pittsburgh Pirates (1-2)  and their offense couldn’t muster much, as the Cincinnati Reds (2-1) take game three and the series by a score of 3-1.

The Reds started the scoring in the bottom of the second with a one-out solo homer by Jason Vosler. Vosler’s home run registered at 101.3 mph with a distance of 365 ft.

The Reds led 1-0.

In the bottom of the third, Jonathan India singled to left field, and then Jake Fraley drew a 3-2 walk to put runners on first and second with one out in the inning.

Tyler Stephenson then hit a sharp grounder to Oneil Cruz, and while Cruz slid to stop the ball, it snuck through to left field, allowing India to score, putting the Reds up 2-0 in the early going.

Stephenson’s single was the nail in the Pirates’ coffin

Two innings later, T.J. Friedl gave the Reds some insurance as he blasted a 104.2 mph moon shot to right-center field, and the Reds solidified their lead to 3-1, which effectively ended the Pirates’ hopes of having their starting pitcher go five full innings.

Vince Velasquez (0-1) had a rough day on the mound, but considering where he left his pitches more often than not, it could’ve been worse.

Three key instances summed up Velasquez’s first start as a Pirate.

In the bottom of the second, Velasquez left a 2-1 slider up and into Vosler, resulting in his homer.

In his at-bat against Stephenson, Velasquez’s bugaboo was leaving his slider up, yet again. This time it was up and over the plate, which cost the Pirates another run.

And in his final pitch of the day, Velasquez left a 93 mph fastball down the middle of the plate to Friedl.

Control and pitch execution caused Velasquez to exit the game early, and as a result, his final line read 4.2 innings pitched, three earned runs, five hits, three strikeouts, and one walk.

The enigmatic Bryan Reynolds got the Pirates on the board in the top of the fourth with a solo shot and his first home run of the season. Reynolds’ homer registered at 109 mph and went 410 ft.

The Pirates trailed 2-1 at the time.

The Pirates’ offense tried to get going in the top of the eighth after Rodolfo Castro and Cruz singled to start the inning, but with runners on the corners with one out, both Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Santana recorded outs, and the Pirates failed to cash in.

As an offense overall, the Pirates mustered just four hits off the Graham Ashcraft (1-0) and struck out six times.

The Pirates will travel to Boston for a three-game series with the Red Sox. Johan Oviedo will face Kutter Crawford. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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