By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — If Tanner Roark was auditioning for other teams, for a possible trade, scouts from those teams probably told the Cincinnati Reds, “Don’t call us and we won’t call you.”
With less than 24 hours until the trade deadline and his name front and center, Roark, was less than resourceful Tuesday night in Great American Ball Park.
Facing the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have shown as much life lately as crash test dummies, Roark was crunched for five runs and six hits in his first three innings.
The Pirates used that start to eliminate their nine-game losing streak and win only their third game of the 19 they’ve played since the All-Star break, 11-4, in a fight-marred game.
While Roark has not been traded yet, Yasiel Puig was. He was dealt to the Cleveland Indians and the Reds get starting pitcher/eccentric Trevor Bauer in return. The Reds also lost No. 1 prospect/outfielder Taylor Trammell, who goes to San Diego as part of the three-team deal.
The trade was not confirmed by the Reds but they are expected to announce it Wednesday. Bauer’s arrival as a starting pitcher makes Roark even more expendable and he could go elsewhere by Wednesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.
The game? A game delayed several minutes when a full-scale brawl erupted?
There doesn’t seem to be a Reds pitcher on Planet Earth who can retire Pittsburgh outfielder Corey Dickerson.
On Tuesday he hit two home runs and a single to drive in a career-high five runs. He has made Great American Ball Park his personal playpen. In 13 games, he has hit nine home runs and is hitting .439.
He is reportedly on Pittsburgh’s trading block and the Reds probably are considering acquiring his services if for no other reason than to get him out of their hair.
Roark, eligible for free agency after the season, was said to be high on the radar of the Philadelphia Phillies, but he quite possibly erased his name with his performance.
The Pirates scored two in the first on Josh Bell’s two-run double. They scored three in the third when Roark walked two and both scored. Dickerson poked a two-out, two-run opposite field single to left and Kevin Newman singled for another run.
That put the Pirates in command, 5-0, and when Roark walked two more with one out in the fourth his night was finished. In 3 2/3 innings he gave up five runs, six hits and walked four.
His teammates didn’t do much to rescue him, either, as three of the team’s hottest hitters sat this one out — Josh VanMeter, Phillip Ervin and Tucker Barnhart.
The Reds put runners on third and second with one out in the first against Pittsburgh starter Joe Musgrove. Yasiel Puig struck out and Scooter Gennett grounded out.
Nick Senzel led the second with a double and didn’t budge off second as Jose Iglesias, Roark and Kyle Farmer made routine outs.
The Reds began chipping away with a pair of solo home runs. Joey Votto connected in the third for his 10th of the season. Fittingly, it was his 150th in GABP in this, the 150th anniversary of the team’s first season.
Jose Iglesias, who streaked his hair with purple coloring after hitting a home run Monday night, hit another one Tuesday. The one Monday was a grand slam. This one was with nobody on base and cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 5-2.
Lucas Sims replaced Roark and the walk haunted him, too, along with Corey Dickerson, Cincinnati’s personal persecutor.
Sims walked Colin Moran and Dickerson drilled his first home run into the right field seats for his fourth RBI of the night and a 7-2 Pittsburgh lead. Dickerson struck for his second home run of the night in the seventh, one he hit so far and so deep into the right field bleachers that no outfielder flinched a muscle nor looked up.
And of course there was the usual extra-curriculars between the two teams. It started in the seventh when Pittsburgh relief pitcher Keone Kela threw a pitch over Derek Dietrich’s head.
It escalated until Reds pitcher Amir Garrett charged from the mound in the eighth inning and attacked Trevor Williams, who was screaming at Garrett.
It all ended with Garrett, Williams and Yasiel Puig earning ejections.