CINCINNATI -- With Joey Votto(aka "Tokki 2 for Players Weekend) almost single-handedly leading Jameson Taillon ("J-Mo") to an early exit, the Pirates' bullpen and lineup picked up the slack in the Bucs' 5-2 win over the Reds on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.Pittsburgh's bullpen did the heavy lifting
CINCINNATI -- With Joey Votto(aka "Tokki 2 for Players Weekend) almost single-handedly leading Jameson Taillon ("J-Mo") to an early exit, the Pirates' bullpen and lineup picked up the slack in the Bucs' 5-2 win over the Reds on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Pittsburgh's bullpen did the heavy lifting and allowed only one hit over five scoreless innings in relief of Taillon. A.J. Schugel ("Schug") picked up two innings, then Daniel Hudson ("Huddy") and Juan Nicasio ("Arenoso") formed the bridge to closer Felipe Rivero. The Reds loaded the bases in the ninth, bringing Adam Duvall ("Duvy") to the plate as the winning run, but Rivero ("Nightmare") slammed the door as the Pirates sealed their first series victory over the Reds since September 2016.
"I thought the bullpen was pretty clean. Good effort from everybody that came in," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Schugel gave us a nice stop, then everybody finished it off."
Taillon threw 108 pitches and didn't record an out in the fifth, largely because Votto walked three times and saw 31 pitches in his first three plate appearances on his way to a club-record-tying five walks. Votto saw 43 of the 177 pitches the Pirates threw Sunday.
"Future Hall-of-Famer doing his thing," Taillon said. " He wore me out. … He's special. The guy's a once-in-a-generation kind of guy."
The Reds' all-rookie battery held its own. Right-hander Tyler Mahle allowed four hits and four walks while striking out five over five innings in his first Major League start, pitching to catcher Chad Wallach, who also made his big league debut.
The Pirates' last two victories came on unlikely home runs: Josh Harrison's Wednesday walk-off to break up Rich Hill's no-hitter and Gerrit Cole's solo shot Saturday night. They found a more conventional way to get it done Sunday.
John Jaso ("Easy J") delivered the biggest hit against Mahle, a two-run double to right field in the fourth inning, and Andrew McCutchen ("Cutch") tacked on an RBI single in the fifth. The Pirates padded their lead in the ninth inning with three consecutive hits off right-hander Raisel Iglesias ("El Ciclon"). Elias Diaz ("El Maracucho") singled to right, pinch-hitter David Freese ("Davehuman") doubled to center, and both scored on a line drive from Starling Marte "Tato"), who finished 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs.
"It was a day we had to grind it out. Their young starter did a nice job," Hurdle said. "Then when you get to the other side of their bullpen, they've shown the ability to do some things. … Everybody just kept fighting."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Great escape: After a single, an infield hit that bounced off Josh Harrison's glove and one of Votto's three walks, Taillon found himself facing a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third inning. He calmly navigated the tight spot by striking out Duvall, getting Scooter Gennett ("Ryan") to pop out and inducing a lazy fly ball from Jose Peraza ("Miguel Angel"). The high-traffic inning required 26 pitches from Taillon, but he escaped unscathed.
"He showed extreme fortitude in the third inning," Hurdle said. "That inning gets away from him, I don't know where the game goes. Shut them down in that inning. However, it was a long day and a hard day."
You won't like him when he's angry: McCutchen showed a rare outburst of anger in the fourth inning toward home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg during an at-bat against Mahle. McCutchen said he felt Mahle was working too quickly, especially when he delivered a pitch up and in on McCutchen, so he wanted more time to get set up in the batter's box. He asked for a timeout on three different pitches, he said, and was granted time on just one.
After grounding out, McCutchen was restrained and escorted into the dugout by third-base coach Joey Cora. He let his bat do the talking in the fifth inning, however: With one out and Marte at second, McCutchen knocked a single to center for his first RBI in a week.
"That's what it's all about. I'm not going to let anyone get in my head. I'll make the adjustment," McCutchen said. "I think you were able to see I didn't leave the box [before the RBI single]. I was ready. He left me something over the plate I was able to hit and get an RBI. If that's the way the game's going to be played, that's the way I'm going to play it. I was able to be victorious for one at-bat. … If I'm not going to get time out, I've got to make the adjustment. I made the adjustment."
• Bucs' Frazier exits early with hamstring discomfort
"I wanted to be ready. I'm not calling time to be a [jerk]. I'm not calling time to play games -- that's what Jeff said to me. I'm here to try and be ready, to be ready that at-bat. If I'm not ready, I'm going to call time. … That's the way that went. I had to have a glass of woosah water after that, and yeah, all is well now." -- McCutchen, on his argument with Kellogg
"My dad was able to be here, which was awesome. This is what we all play for. It was a lot of fun." -- Wallach, son of former Montreal Expos mainstay and current Miami Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach, on his big league debut
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Votto's five walks tied a club record he also tied in 2013. The other Reds players to have walked five times in a game are Hughie Critz and Johnny Bench.
Pirates: Right-hander Trevor Williams will take the mound for the Pirates at 8:05 p.m. ET on Monday as they begin a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Williams is coming off the best start of his young career. Opposite Rich Hill's nine-inning no-hit bid, Williams tossed eight scoreless innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Reds: The Reds are idle Monday, then host the New York Mets for three games beginning Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Cincinnati hasn't beaten the Mets since 2014, a 14-game losing streak. Sal Romano (3-5, 4.96) will start for the Reds against Chris Flexen (3-2, 5.79). Both are 23-year-old rookie right-handers.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.
Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati who covered the Reds on Sunday.