Pirates club back-to-back long balls three times, third instance in MLB history
CINCINNATI -- The Pirates broke out of their batting slump Monday night -- in duplicate. Or triplicate, if you count the number of times they hit back-to-back home runs out of Great American Ball Park.
In the second inning, Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez hit consecutive homers off aptly-named Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey.
In the fifth, Starling Marte and Travis Snider went back to back against Bailey -- the first time the right-hander had given up four home runs in a game.
In the sixth, the Reds changed pitchers, but the Bucs did not change their approach. With J.J. Hoover on the mound, Walker and Sanchez again delivered back to back.
Play was halted after six innings because of heavy rain, and the action continued on Tuesday evening, when the Pirates came away with the 8-7 victory.
Sanchez, ordinarily in a platoon at first base with left-handed-hitting Travis Ishikawa, made only his second start of the season against a right-handed pitcher.
"Gaby had two big swings. He looked good," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
This marked the first time in Pittsburgh history that the Pirates had three instances of back-to-back home runs in one game -- and only the third time in MLB annals.
"I never would have thought I'd find a way to be attached to a home run record," said Walker, who set his personal high with 16 homers last season.
The Reds did it first, on Aug. 18, 1956 (Ted Kluszewski-Wally Post, Bob Thurman-Kluszewski, Frank Robinson-Thurman), and the Red Sox followed suit on June 17, 1977 (Rick Burleson-Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk-George Scott, Carl Yastrzemski-Fisk).
Remarkably, all that power got the Bucs was a tie game, 7-7 through six innings as rain suspended the game. The Reds connected for three two-run homers -- by Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick and Joey Votto -- off lefty Wandy Rodriguez before Devin Mesoraco hit a game-tying homer off reliever Bryan Morris in the sixth.
Mesoraco's homer set a new Great American Ball Park record of 10 home runs, breaking the standard set on May 27, 2012, by the Rockies (five) and the Reds (four).
Mesoraco's blow also saved the Reds from a loss -- for the time being, at least. Without it, the Pirates would have had a rain-shortened 7-6 victory.
"It was something to see," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "If Mesoraco doesn't hit a homer, we're talking about a loss right now."
The Pirates' six homers tied the record for visiting teams -- set on Sept. 9, 2007, by the Brewers, and tied on June 5, 2013, by the Rockies, and on Sept. 28, 2013, by the Pirates.