CINCINNATI -- Jay Bruce's RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Reds a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Pirates on Sunday and two of three games in the series.It is Cincinnati's first 5-1 start to a season since 2011.Brandon Phillips led off the inning with a
CINCINNATI -- Jay Bruce's RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Reds a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Pirates on Sunday and two of three games in the series.
It is Cincinnati's first 5-1 start to a season since 2011.
Brandon Phillips led off the inning with a lined single to center field against reliever Arquimedes Caminero. On a 2-2 count, Bruce lined a ball that landed near the right-field line and rolled towards the corner away from Gregory Polanco for the three-base hit as Phillips was able to score the winning run standing up.
"I didn't hit it very hard so it took a while to get there," Bruce said. "It took a while for [Polanco] to get to it. I think they may have been pinching to the middle a little bit. Whatever happened, it worked out."
Following three scoreless innings from Dan Straily and a scoreless eighth by Jumbo Diaz, Ross Ohlendorf picked up the victory after he worked a scoreless top of the ninth. That came despite two hits as Pittsburgh went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position for the game.
Overall this weekend, the Pirates went 5-for-35 with men in scoring position and stranded 34 runners on base.
"You move on from it, learn from it. It's baseball. Next time we get those runners on, we'll score them," Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison said. "There's going to be some games, some series where guys get stranded. You can't get frustrated."
Left-hander Jeff Locke, making his season debut and unveiling his revamped delivery, held the Reds to one run, Eugenio Suarez's homer, over six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Suarez hotter than a firecracker: Leading off the Reds' sixth inning, Suarez hit Locke's 2-2 pitch for a home run to right field that made it a 1-1 game. Suarez, who had reached safely in each of the Reds' first six games, has produced four of the Reds' seven homers this season and three of the last five. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Reds player with four homers in the team's first six games since Adam Dunn in 2004.
"I saw him last year," Bruce said. "The guy wakes up and hits. The guy is a natural. He really does a good job, and he's doing great right now. He has that ability. He's still really young and still coming into his own as a Major Leaguer." More >
Smart hitting: In his first trip to the plate this season, Chris Stewart -- a singles-hitting backup catcher -- swung at a 2-2 pitch from Reds starting pitcher Tim Melville and lined it into the left-field stands for a solo home run. It was Stewart's first homer with the Pirates and his first round-tripper since Aug. 20, 2013, with the Yankees. Stewart couldn't help but smile as he rounded the bases, and after the initial "silent treatment," his teammates cheerfully mobbed him in the dugout.
"I forgot what that feeling was like," Stewart said. "It's been a while." More >
Melville debuts: Smooth innings were a white whale for Melville in his big league debut, but he wasn't hit hard. The right-hander allowed one run over four innings, but threw 92 pitches and left a runner stranded on third base all four innings. Pittsburgh was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while Melville pitched, including coming up empty in the 37-pitch top of the first inning when he walked the bases loaded.
"I was amped up, nervous," Melville said. "It's a new setting and everything and just the excitement. It's been building for a long time. Overall, I'm very grateful. We got the win, which was important."
Replay review: With two runners on and two outs in the eighth inning, John Jaso knocked a single to left field off Diaz. Harrison rounded third and slid home, but Adam Duvall's throw reached Devin Mesoraco in time for the catcher to tag out Harrison. The Pirates challenged the call, believing Mesoraco blocked the plate. After a review, the call was confirmed. The replay official determined there was no violation of Rule 7.13 (the home plate collision rule) and Mesoraco tagged Harrison before he touched the plate. More >
"I think the guys are relaxed and are having fun. That sounds simple enough, but I think whenever everyone is pulling for each other, there's something special about that. It's easy to say we're in the first week. It's going to be a long season. We know things aren't always going to go as smoothly as they have in the first week. However, if you can keep the right attitude and frame of mind, you can have more streaks like this." -- Reds manager Bryan Price
• Streaking Reds defy dreary expectations
"It's tough, but at least we're getting the guys into those situations. As long as we keep doing that and keep having quality at-bats, we're eventually going to get those runners across." -- Stewart, on the Pirates' struggles with runners in scoring position
Pirates: The Pirates will begin their Interleague Play schedule Monday afternoon, taking on the Tigers at Comerica Park at 1:10 p.m. ET. Left-hander Jonathon Niese will make his second start with the Pirates and line up against Tigers righty Justin Verlander, who had been scheduled to start Sunday's snowed-out game in Detroit.
Reds: The first road trip of the season -- six games in seven days -- begins Monday when the Reds head to Wrigley Field for the Cubs' home opener at 8:05 p.m. ET. Brandon Finnegan will make his second start of the season, and the first of his career vs. the Cubs, and face fellow left-hander Jon Lester.
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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.