By HAL McCOY
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tim Adleman thought he had this thing all figured out, how to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday night in PNC Park.
Do it all by himself.
And for five innings he did just that — he held the Pirates to two runs; he contributed two hits, scored a run and drove in a run; he picked two Pirates off base.
Alas, although the Reds won by the skin of their upper molars, 4-3, Adelman didn’t get the win.
THAT WENT TO RELIEF PITCHER Raisel Iglesias, who pitched two of the wildest, woolliest innings imaginable in the eighth and ninth.
The Reds led, 3-2, entering the eighth, but Iglesias gave up three hits and a sacrifice fly by Andrew McCutchen to tie it. Iglesias was bailed out of that mess when the Reds turned their fourth double play.
Facing Pittsburgh closer Tony Watson in the ninth, Eugenio Suarez singled, Tyler Holt singled and Jose Peraza’s sacrifice fly gave the Reds a 4-3 lead.
INCREDIBLY, IGLESIAS STARTED the bottom of the ninth by hitting the first two Pirates, David Freese and Francisco Cervelli. That put the potential tying and winning runs on base with no outs.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle opted to utilize the sacrifice bunt with Jordy Mercer and he bunted the runners to third and second with one out.
Matt Joyce was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring up Cincinnati native and Reds-killer Josh Harrison, an aggressive hitter.
Sure enough, he swung at the first pitched and popped out to second baseman Brandon Phillips. Pinch-hitter Adam Frazier then flied to left to end it.
In two innings Iglesias faced 11 Pirates and somehow gave up only one run, despite giving up three hits, hitting two batters and walking one.
And the Pirates contributed mightily to their demises by hitting into four double plays and going 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and getting two runners picked off base by Adleman.
ADLEMAN PITCHED FIVE INNINGS and gave up two runs, seven hits, two walks and didn’t strike out anybody.
Each team scored one run at a time throughout the game with the Reds scoring first in the top of the third against rookie left hander Steven Bault.
Adleman led the third with a double to center field, Jose Peraza walked, Zack Cozart bunted the runners up base and Joey Votto blooped a a run-scoring single to center for a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates immediately tied it in the bottom of the third on Jordy Mercer’s single, a sacrifice bunt and Harrison’s double to left field.
THE REDS RECLAIMED THE lead, 2-1, in the top of the fourth with two outs and nobody on. Eugenio Suarez doubled and the Pirates intentionally walked Ramon Cabrera to get to pitcher Adleman. Big mistake. He punched a run-scoring single to right.
The Pirates tied it, 2-2, in the fifth when Jordy Mercer beat an infield hit and pinch-hitter Matt Joyce walked. Harrison bunted the runners up a base and Mercer scored on Josh Bell’s grounder to first baseman Joey Votto.
Brandon Phillips hit a dramatic leadoff home run in the sixth off relief pitcher Jared Hughes. Phillips was wearing the initials ‘JJ’ on his cap in honor of a close friend who died this year of cancer. The homer gave the Reds a 3-2 lead.
THE LEAD STOO UNTIL Iglesias arrived in the eighth and gave up back-to-back singles to Harrison and John Jason to open the inning. Andrew McCutchen’s sacrifice fly tied it, 3-3, and Gregory Polanco singled. The uprising ended when Jung Ho Kang hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Reds scored in the top of the ninth and Iglesias pulled off his Mandrake the Magician escape act in the bottom of the ninth.
The win snapped the Reds five-game losing streak and they did it while wearing throwback uniforms, the 1937 outfits worn by the Cincinnati Tigers of the Negro American League. The Pirates wore the uniforms of the Homestead Grays of the Negro League.