By HAL McCOY
The Cincinnati Reds finally discovered a way to come from behind and win a baseball game — put a bat in the hands of Eugenio Suarez with two outs and runners on base.
The Reds were down four runs in the first two innings Saturday night in PNC Park, but behind Suarez’s big night they battled back to score a 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Suarez tied the game, 4-4, with a two-out single in the sixth inning, then on his next trip to the batter’s box he cracked a two-out three-run home run to provide the Reds with only their second victory in seven games, 7-4.
After Sal Romano gave up four runs and seven hits in his five innings, the bullpen completely muzzled the Pirates high-octane offense.
Romano retired the last seven batters he faced, then the bullpen retired nine straight Pirates, three by Kevin Quackenbush and six by Wandy Peralta.
Raisel Iglesias gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but that was it.
And it appears the Reds may have found their leadoff hitter. After stroking three hits and driving in a run Friday night as the leadoff hitter, Jesse Winker was on base four more times Saturday with a hit for an RBI, two walks and he was hit by a pitch.
Romano retired the first two Pirates in the first inning, then gave up three straight hits, including a two-run double to Corey Dickerson.
He gave up a walk and two hits for two more Pirates runs in the second on a sacrifice fly to Josh Harrison and a single by Adam Frazier.
Early in the game, the Reds were doing more of the same from their first few games — putting runners on base and leaving them there.
They had two on with one out in the first, but Scooter Gennett struck out and Adam Duvall struck out. Gennett struck out four times.
They scored a run in the third on Winker’s walk, Suarez’s double (he ha three hits) and a sacrifice fly by Joey Votto.
They had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth, but Gennett and Duvall struck out.
But they had moved to within 4-2 in the fifth on Jose Peraza’s single, Romano’s sacrifice bunt and Winker’s run-scoring single.
The Reds tied it in the sixth, a rally started by Tucker Barnhart with a double. Jose Peraza singled and with two outs Winker walked and Suarez lined a two-single to left field.
Then came the decisive eighth. Barnhart again started it with a single and Peraza bunted him to second. Billy Hamilton, who entered the game as part of a double switch, rolled an infield single.
Winker lined a bullet right at first baseman Josh Bell for the second out, but Suarez delivered with his three-run home run.
As soon as the ball left the bat, Suarez looked into the Reds dugout as if to say, “Look what I just did, fellows,” and then did a salsa dance around the bases.