PITTSBURGH -- The Reds have had few leads -- and had even fewer wins -- entering Saturday. They were a club in desperate need of an offensive boost and a little fun.Challenge accepted by Eugenio Suarez vs. the Pirates.Suarez's career-high-tying five RBIs came in his final two at-bats and gave
PITTSBURGH -- The Reds have had few leads -- and had even fewer wins -- entering Saturday. They were a club in desperate need of an offensive boost and a little fun.
Challenge accepted by Eugenio Suarez vs. the Pirates.
Suarez's career-high-tying five RBIs came in his final two at-bats and gave the Reds a 7-4 victory at PNC Park. In a 3-for-4 game with a walk, Suarez's bases-loaded single in the sixth against reliever Dovydas Neverauskas scored two runs and made it a 4-4 game. In the eighth inning against George Kontos, Suarez hit an 0-1 sinker for a three-run home run to left field and the lead.
"Oh man, that was really good," Suarez said. "After you win a really good game like this one today, everybody's happy in here in the clubhouse. Personally, I feel great at the plate today. I just tried to find a hole and try to put a good swing on the ball and help my team to win and that's what I did today."
Cincinnati trailed, 4-0, after two innings as starter Sal Romano faltered in the first with three two-out hits for two runs. But after the second inning, Romano found his groove and retired his final nine batters in a row as he, Kevin Quackenbush and Wandy Peralta retired 16 straight Pittsburgh hitters through the eighth.
The Reds chipped away, but missed a big chance in the fifth after scoring another run on Jesse Winker's RBI single. Suarez drew a walk in the rally, and Cincinnati had the bases loaded with one out, but the team was unable to score more.
Finally, in the sixth, the Reds cashed in. Winker's two-out walk -- his fourth time reaching safely -- set up Suarez to slash a two-run single into left field.
In the eighth inning, with runners on second and third base, Pirates first baseman Josh Bell robbed Winker of what would have been a go-ahead single by snaring a rocket line drive. Suarez followed and picked Winker up with the game-winning homer.
"I felt like I put a good swing on it, but it's part of the game. The guy right behind me can really swing, obviously," Winker said. "You want to talk about a great swing? That was incredible to see. You know, it's really early in the season, but it seemed like a huge time, obviously. We really needed that one, so I'm really happy for Geno. It's fun to be on the winning side."
After he crossed the plate on the homer, the charismatic Suarez found teammate Joey Votto on deck and engaged him in a mini-salsa dance.
"We practiced [the dance] a lot in Spring Training, but this was the first time we did it," Suarez said. "I think that [will] be good most of the time just to try and enjoy the homers."
Suarez's five RBIs equaled his output vs. the Cubs on Aug. 22, 2017. Cincinnati signed the 26-year-old to a seven-year, $66 million contract during Spring Training last month.
Now 2-5, the Reds' previous win was Monday's 1-0 squeaker over the Cubs. On Thursday against Pittsburgh, they took an early 1-0 lead before losing, 5-2. Suarez's homer gave his club on Saturday its first lead of more than one run.
"You know what? They all feel good, some feel even better than the others. Tonight was one of those," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Caught: The Reds' streak of retired batters ended in the ninth when Colin Moran hit a leadoff single against closer Raisel Iglesias. But the Reds erased Moran as he attempted to steal, with Iglesias making a pickoff throw and the defense executing a rundown for the out. Iglesias then notched two more outs for his second save.
"Moran was a big out for us," Price said. "They couldn't get too excited. They get another base hit, now you're a home run away from tying the ballgame and taking it to extra innings. That was a big out."
Comeback begins: After Winker worked a one-out walk in the third inning against Pirates starter Chad Kuhl, Suarez was involved in an early rally as he hit a double that bounced past right fielder Adam Frazier and moved Winker to third base. It set up Votto hitting Kuhl's 3-0 pitch for a line out to right field that went for a sacrifice fly and the Reds' first run.
"The team did an unbelievable job coming back and getting this win. Obviously, Geno with the big hits and the bullpen putting up zeros, it was a really good team win for us today." -- Romano, who gave up four earned runs and seven hits over five innings
"We ran into a swing plane with Suarez twice tonight, with Dovydas and with Kontos again. The guy can hit. There's balls that he doesn't miss." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle
The Reds have a chance to get a four-game series split in the 1:35 p.m. ET finale on Sunday. Rookie Tyler Mahle will make his second start for Cincinnati, coming off an outing in which he worked six scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out seven to earn the win over the Cubs on Monday.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.