Phillips lifts Reds over Bucs with HR in 13th
PITTSBURGH -- About half an hour after their Thursday night game gave way to Friday morning, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips ripped a solo home run to left field off Pirates reliever Rob Scahill, leading Cincinnati to a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park.
Scahill entered the game in the top of the 13th inning, the sixth Pirates reliever to take the mound. Phillips, who'd already commanded a spot on the highlight reel with a behind-the-back flip throw to second base, led off by launching a 2-1 fastball into the left-field seats, his fourth homer of the year.
Reds reliever Pedro Villarreal pitched the final two innings to record his first career win. Villarreal allowed a leadoff double to Andrew McCutchen in the 12th, but left him stranded.
Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett gave Pittsburgh the lead in a three-run second inning, lacing a two-run single to center off Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani. Burnett left the game with a two-run lead after allowing two runs over six solid innings.
Burnett's six innings set up the Pirates' relief trio of Arquimedes Caminero, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon. But Joey Votto and Todd Frazier quickly thwarted those plans in the seventh, when Votto singled and reached third on an error and Frazier smashed a game-tying, two-run shot to left.
The Pirates had a chance to walk off in the ninth, putting runners on the corners with two outs. But McCutchen flied out to right against reliever Ryan Mattheus, sending the game into extra innings.
The Reds escaped a potential mess in the bottom of the 12th, when McCutchen led off with a double. After Neil Walker was walked intentionally, Jung Ho Kang lined into a costly double play, as Votto caught Walker too far off first base. The Pirates finished the night 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 men on base. Cincinnati was 3-for-16 RISP and stranded 14.
"We went up there, we swung the bats better later, obviously," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We couldn't find grass. We couldn't find gaps."
"It was great. There's opportunities for both teams to put that one to bed and neither one could take advantage of some of the opportunities that they created," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "A lot of guys left on base. It also meant a lot of good relief pitching by both clubs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Six strong: The Pirates hadn't seen a starting pitcher finish six innings since the last time Burnett took the mound, a loss to the Nationals on Friday in which he battled through 6 2/3 despite allowing a career-high 14 hits. It looked like the streak might continue, as Burnett's pitch count stood at 101 after five innings. But he hit for himself in the fifth, worked a nine-pitch sixth and provided at least a little relief for an overworked bullpen.
"Eventually it was a matter of time before I knew I'd settle in and start getting ahead a little better, get a quick inning here or there," Burnett said. "You've got to go deep if you want to win games. Got to get into the seventh, get into the eighth."
Frazier burns Pirates, again: Cincinnati hadn't scored a run since the second inning until Frazier crushed a game-tying two-run homer to left field on a 99-mph fastball from Caminero. According to Statcast™, the ball had an exit velocity of 107 mph and it traveled quickly 426 feet and into the left-field seats. It was Frazier's team-leading 24th homer, and the fifth this season vs. Pittsburgh.
"The guy was throwing heat, and throwing hard," Frazier said. "I get a fastball, I like to drive them. I got a pitch to hit and I squared it up. That's all I'm trying to do every at-bat. Whether it looked good or not, I'm just trying to square it up." More >
Bastardo holds the line: Pirates reliever Antonio Bastardo struggled through two months of the season, running up a 5.56 ERA through his first 16 appearances with Pittsburgh, often in low-leverage situations. But he's seemingly turned a corner since then, and he proved it Thursday by striking out two pinch-hitters to strand two runners and keep the game tied. Over the last month, Bastardo has allowed one run in nine innings. More >
E-gads! E6 is costly: A would-be third-out grounder by Francisco Cervelli was botched by Suarez in the bottom of the second inning for an error that opened the door for Pittsburgh to rally. Eugenio Suarez also made an error when he couldn't get in front of Jordy Mercer's sharp grounder leading off in the bottom of the ninth. The Reds didn't pay for the mistake though. After having zero errors in his first 10 games since being called up and installed as the regular shortstop, Suarez made three in the three-game series -- two of them with two outs that led to runs scoring.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With five punchouts on the night, Burnett moved into 36th place on the all-time strikeouts list. Burnett moved past Sam McDowell and finished the night with 2,454 career strikeouts. Next up are Jim Kaat (35th, with 2,461) and Mark Langston (34th, with 2,464).
For the Reds, it was their first series win on the road since May 5-7, also at Pittsburgh. It was also their second victory in eight days when they played 13 innings following a rain delay. It also happened on June 17 vs. the Tigers.
The Pirates thought Burnett induced an inning-ending double play in the fifth. Brayan Pena hit a comebacker to Burnett, who threw to Mercer to force out Marlon Byrd at second base. First-base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled Mercer's throw to first pulled Pedro Alvarez off the bag and called Pena safe. Manager Clint Hurdle called for a review, the initial ruling stood after a one-minute, 56-second replay review, and the Pirates lost their challenge.
In the 10th inning, the umpires checked to confirm the rules and regulations regarding a "neighborhood play" made by Suarez at second base. Those plays are non-reviewable, and the decision must be made by the on-field crew. The umpires decided it was indeed a "neighborhood play" and couldn't be reviewed, so it stood as called on the field: Suarez recorded the out at second base.
"It wasn't so much the part of the order, it's he flew today, he's been on paternity leave, already gotten him up -- that was the third time we had him up. It was just, we're going to get him in. He's been hot three times and just decided it was time to get him in. We were also at a good part of our lineup to start the 11th and we had some opportunities to score there, but we didn't do it. It just seemed like getting him up and getting him up and getting him up, we'd inevitably get to the point where we couldn't safely bring him in or comfortably feel like he'd have any bullets left in his arsenal." -- Price, on using closer Aroldis Chapman for seven pitches in the 11th against the 8-9-1 portion of the Pittsburgh order.
Reds: Working on eight days' rest after he was pushed back to be cautious about his elbow, ace Johnny Cueto will start Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET series opener vs. the Mets at Citi Field. Cueto has a 2.84 ERA in the four starts he's made since he was skipped from a start in late May because of the elbow stiffness. Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to start for New York.
Pirates: Left-hander Francisco Liriano will take the mound at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday as the Bucs welcome the Braves to PNC Park to kick off a three-game series. The last time Liriano took the ball, Pittsburgh wound up on the wrong side of history in Max Scherzer's no-hitter. Liriano has struggled at home this year, going 2-4 with a 4.35 ERA. Right-hander Williams Perez (4-0, 2.78) will start for Atlanta.
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