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Reds relievers flash perfection to beat Bucs

April 10, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- Both starting pitchers struggled to find the strike zone Monday night at PNC Park, and neither Tyler Glasnow nor Brandon Finnegan made it out of the third inning. But the Reds took advantage of Glasnow's wildness, walking their way to a 7-1 win over the Pirates.Glasnow battled his

PITTSBURGH -- Both starting pitchers struggled to find the strike zone Monday night at PNC Park, and neither Tyler Glasnow nor Brandon Finnegan made it out of the third inning. But the Reds took advantage of Glasnow's wildness, walking their way to a 7-1 win over the Pirates.
Glasnow battled his command through a 43-pitch, 23-minute first inning in which he walked four straight batters, two of them with the bases loaded. His second inning did not bring better results. Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza hit consecutive singles, executed a double steal and scored on Adam Duvall's line drive to left field.
"The fastball command wasn't where it needed to be against that club, against any club up here," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "There's work to be done."
Another walk to Eugenio Suarez, who also homered in the fifth inning, ended Glasnow's evening. The Pirates' top prospect gave up five runs on five walks and four hits while recording only five outs.

"This is just going to be one of those [where you] forget about it, and go out and get the next one," Glasnow said.
Finnegan was not much better, walking five and allowing four hits while striking out four, but he was only charged with one run. The Pirates loaded the bases against him in the second and third innings. Finnegan escaped the first jam, and reliever Michael Lorenzen quelled the third-inning rally. The Pirates stranded eight runners on the night, finishing 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Lorenzen, Cody Reed and Wandy Peralta combined to throw seven perfect innings, retiring the Pirates' final 21 hitters in order.

"We knew what they had coming in. They've got some young arms and some power stuff," Hurdle said. "They all had excellent stuff tonight."
First things first: Glasnow was out of sorts from the start, and the Reds exposed the two weaknesses he showed in his brief Major League debut last season: his command and his control of the running game. Hamilton singled and immediately stole second base, then Glasnow retired Peraza. The next four batters walked, prompting boos from Glasnow's home crowd in Pittsburgh. At that point, the Pirates got a reliever up in the bullpen, but Glasnow managed to get out of the inning with a pair of ground-ball outs.

"Just throw it away, move on, get ready to pitch in five days," Glasnow said. "I felt good early on, got a little long toward the end and things started to fall apart a little bit." More >
Escape act: The Pirates had a chance to climb back into the game in the third, loading the bases with no outs for the second straight inning. Finnegan walked Francisco Cervelli, scoring one run, then manager Bryan Price called on Lorenzen. The right-hander deftly defused the situation. Josh Bell flied out to center. Adam Frazier tapped a comebacker that Lorenzen fielded for the force out at home. Then Lorenzen struck out reliever Wade LeBlanc, making his second trip to the plate with the bases loaded. More >

"We had a chance to score runs, too. We didn't do it. That's it. It's not all Glasnow. We have to hit, you know? Simple as that." -- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Glasnow and Finnegan were the first opposing starters since 1893 to walk five batters or more while pitching two innings or less.
Eugenio Suarez's fifth-inning solo shot off LeBlanc gave the Reds a home run in each of their first seven games, their longest streak since they homered in nine straight to start the season in 2000.
LeBlanc allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings, the longest relief outing in a nine-inning game for the Pirates since Ron Villone went 5 1/3 out of the bullpen on May 13, 2002.
Hamilton made an impact offensively, going 3-for-5 with two runs and two steals, and he preserved the Reds bullpen's perfect performance with a leaping grab in the fourth inning. Andrew McCutchen ripped a slider off Lorenzen to the warning track, but Hamilton glided back, left his feet and reeled in what would have been an extra-base hit before slamming into the wall. According to Statcast™, McCutchen's fly ball came off his bat at 98.4 mph at a 24-degree angle, which gave it a Hit Probability of 48 percent, although that does not account for Hamilton's direction -- nearly straight back -- or having to deal with the wall.

"I love coming to places like St. Louis and Pittsburgh because they're baseball cities. You feel like you want to play baseball here," Hamilton said. "The way the fans treat you, the way the ballpark is set up and everything, I just love playing here."
Reds: Right-hander Rookie Davis will look to bounce back from a short Major League debut as he faces the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday at PNC Park. Davis gave up four runs on five hits, including two homers, and two walks while striking out four over three innings against the Phillies on Thursday.
Pirates: Right-hander Jameson Taillon, coming off an excellent season debut at Fenway Park on Wednesday, will start for the Pirates as they host the Reds at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday at PNC Park. Taillon tossed seven scoreless innings against the Red Sox in his first start. 
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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.