By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — There certainly was an international flavor permeating the environs in and around Great American Ball Park Friday night.
Outside the park, in downtown, they were celebrating the German Oktoberfest with enough beer to float the Bismarck. Inside the park, the Cincinnati Reds wore red jersey tops that read, ‘Los Rojos,’ in honor of Hispanic Heritage and Mexican Independence Day.
And the game’s start was delayed 41 minutes by rain, a game that had no redeemable value, even though th Pittsburgh Pirates are not quite mathematically eliminated from wild card consideration.
But elimination for the Pirates is so close it is nearly a death knell.
The Pirates, though, delayed taking another step backward when they scored three runs off Reds relief pitcher Tony Cingrani in the 10th inning and the Pirates scored a 9-7 victory.
THAT 10TH INNING FEATURES an opening four-pitch walk by Cingrani, an infield hit and a perfect bunt hit by Francisco Cervilli to fill the bases, a run-scoring single by Jordy Mercer, two replay/review challenges and the ejection of Reds manager Bryan Price, who obviously had seen enough.
After Price’s departure, Cingrani gave up a two-run single to David Freese that put the final knot in the lederhosen and the final knot in the serape.
If there was anything of significance it was another negative accomplishment by the Reds bullpen, in addition to another Cingrani flop.
WHEN BLAKE WOOD GAVE UP a two-run home run in the seventh inning to Jung Ho Kang it was the 93rd home run given up this year by a member of the Reds bullpen.
That’s a major league record, eclipsing the 92 given up by the 1964 Kansas City Athletics. And the Reds bullpen can build on that — there are 16 games still remaining.
The Reds helped the Pirates establish a club record, too. When relief pitcher Juan Nicasio struck out Steve Selksky in the seventh inning, it was a club record 28th straight relief appearance by Nicasio that he had struck out at least one batter. And he tied Andrew Miller for longest streak of the season. Miller struck out a batter in 28 straight games for the New York Yankees from May 7 to July 17. Miller now pitches for the Cleveland Indians.
THE PIRATES CONSTRUCTED A 3-0 lead in the top of the first against Robert Stephenson, two on Gregory Polanco’s home run.
Pittsburgh starter Ryan Vogelsong was not up to protecting it, though. The Reds scored one in the bottom of the first on three straight hits with two outs and nobody on, the run scoring on a Brandon Phillips single.
The Reds tied it, 3-3, in the second on catcher Ramon Cabrera’s second home run of the season. The Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the fifth when Stephenson hit Kang with a pitch with the bases loaded, the second time in the game he hit Kang.
Cincinnati took a 6-4 lead in the fifth with three runs, two coming on Scott Schebler’s line drive that whizzed past the outstretched glove of center fielder Andrew McCutchen for a triple.
Stephenson left after five, leading 6-4, after giving up four runs, four hits, four walks, six strikeouts and two hit batters. That’s when Blake Wood helped the bullpen set the dubious record by giving up a two-out single to Polanco in the seventh and Kang’s game-tying home run.
All that remained was for Cingrani to arrive and end the night’s way too long festivities in the top of the 10th. But wait. Pittsburgh closer Tony Watson gave up a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 10th to Steve Selsky, his first major league home run.
An incredible comeback? Not this time. Watson struck out Joey Votto, Adam Duvall flied to center and Brandon Phillips flied to right, ending it 3 hours and 55 minutes after it started — plus a 41-minute rain delay.
It’s a long night’s work in a meaningless game, especially in a losing meaningless game.