By HAL McCOY
It is about time that Scooter Gennett comes up with a new nickname — something like Harley Davidson Gennett.
This guy is no kid’s scooter. He is a high-powered machine.
He was the center of offensive activity Tuesday night in PNC Park when the Cincinnati Reds scored a 6-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the sixth win in eight games for the Reds.
GENNETT LED THE inning, when it was 2-2 with a double off the right field wall and scored the go-ahead run on Billy Hamilton’s two-out single.
Gennett came up again in the eighth inning and pulled a three-run home run down the right field line to push the score from 3-2 t 6-2.
And the early magic continues.
Gennett has five hits this season so far, three of them home runs. And he leads the Reds with eight runs batted in. And he has only started three of the first eight games.
He started the last two because shortstop Zack Cozart is taking care of a sore wrist. So Gennett played second base while second baseman Jose Peraza moved to shortstop.
GENNETT, 26, MAY BE THE best acquisition the Reds made in the off-season. And he wasn’t signed until spring training was nearly over. He was picked up on waivers on March 28 from the Milwaukee Brewers, along with his $2.525 million one-year contract. It looks like money well-spent.
He was a regular with the Brewers, but the Reds hoped he’d be productive off the bench. Instead, Gennett is making a push to be considered for more playing time.
THE GAME’S START WAS delayed for an hour and 14 minutes by rain and it was started by Rookie Davis.
He lasted only four innings and left the game when he was hit on his pitching arm by a pitch while trying to bunt, but his night was nearly done anyway.
He needed 88 pitches to cover those four innings, mostly because of control problems. He threw a lot of pitches to most of the Pirates hitters and he walked four.
But he gave up only one run and two hits and struck out three.
THEN IT WAS UP to the Reds suddenly near-perfect bullpen and five of them held the Pirates to no earned runs (one unearned) and four hits over the final five innings.
ADAM DUVALL GAVE DAVIS a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a leadoff home run, his third.
The Pirates tied it in the third with a double steal. Gregory Blanco stole second and when catcher Tucker Barnhart tried to throw Polanco out, Starling Marte stole home.
The Reds took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Jose Peraza’s double and Eugenio Suarez’s two-out single.
A couple of defensive lapses by the Reds in the fifth enabled the Pirates to tie it 2-2. Gennett proved he isn’t Superman when he dropped a throw that would have been an inning-ending double play. Then Peraza threw away a ground ball for a run-scoring error.
THEN GENNETT TOOK OVER offensively with his double that led to the 3-2 lead and his three-run home run, his third hit of the game. The Reds have hit at least one home run in all eight games.
All bullpen all the time.
—Tony Cingrani pitched the fifth and walked one and struck out one.
—Drew Storen pitched the sixth and gave up one hit and the unearned run that scored on the misplays by Gennett and Suarez.
—Wandy Peralta pitched a 1-2-3 10-pitch seventh.
—Blake Wood started the eighth and gave up a couple of hits and manager Bryan Price, with no hesitation, called for Raisel Iglesias with one out and two on to go for a five-out save.
—Iglesias got the last two outs of the inning with five pitches, then gave up a two-out single to Andrew McCutchen before getting the last out for his third save of the season.
SO THE REDS ARE 6-and-2 and clinched this series in Pittsburgh by winning the first two of this three-games series.
Besides Gennett’s three hits, the Dynamic Duo of Duvall and Suarez each had two hits to offset a 0-for-5 night by Joey Votto that dropped his average to .161.
They’ve won the first three series of the season (2-1 over Philadelphia, 2-1 over St. Louis and 2-0 over Pittsburgh). They are the first Reds team since 1990’s wire-to-wire team to win their first three series of the season.