By HAL McCOY
That isn’t the Pittsburgh Lumber Company of the 1970s playing in PNC Park this year. Somebody forgot to send the text to the Cincinnati Reds.
For the ninth straight time, the Reds lost Saturday night to the woebegotten Pirates on the banks of the Allegheny River, a 14-0 annihilation.
And no that isn’t a Steelers-Bengals score.
Once again the Reds lost to a pitcher in struggle mode. They acted as if they were facing teammate Trevor Bauer instead of Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams.
In his previous seven starts, Williams was 2-and-4 with a 7.70 earned run average. Williams, though, held the dormant Reds to no runs an three hits over six innings, pushing his career record against the Reds to 5-and-0.
Reds starter Alex Wood gave up only two hits, but was charged with five runs (four earned) for his 5 1/3 innings.
The Pirates scored two runs in the third with two outs. Wood walked Kevin Newman with two outs, putting runners on third and first. With two strikes, Brian Reynolds shot one down the right field line, scoring the runner from third.
A second run scored when first baseman Derek Dietrich fumbled away the relay throw for an error and a 2-0 Pirates lead.
Everything flew apart in the sixth when Wood walked two and hit a batter, filling the bases with one out.
Manager David Bell brought in Lucas Sims to replace Wood and it was instant disaster.
Jose Osuna singled up the middle off second baseman Freddy Galvis’ glove for a run and a 3-0 lead. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sent up left hander Colin O’Brien as a pinch-hitter and he crushed one deep into the right field bleachers, a grand slam home run.
That made it 7-0 and the Reds could have packed away the bats and taken off those all-white Players Weekend uniforms that make them resemble ice cream vendors, pharmacists and house painters.
But it was the Pirates painting the park black and gold. Josh Bell put the Pirates in double figures with a three-run home run off Kevin Gausman in the seventh. That gave Bell 101 RBI with his 32nd home run and pushed Pittsburgh’s lead to 10-0.
The Pirates added four more highly unnecessary runs in the eighth against Joel Kuhnel and R.J. Alaniz. Two scored when left fielder Josh VanMeter went back on a fly ball by Starling Marte that fell way in front of him.
Nearly every time the Reds started to put something together, somebody hit into a double play — three times in the first seven innings.
The Reds had only one runner in scoring position through eight innings until Aristides Aquino doubled with one out in the ninth. And that’s where he stayed when Derek Dietrich took a called third strike to end the misery in the PNC horror chamber.
The Pirates had only 10 hits, but Reds pitchers walked five and hit two batters and five of those batters scored.
Trevor Williams, Rich Rodriguez, Kyle Crick and Parker Markel combined for the seven-hit shutout.
Not only did the Reds give up double digit runs, their deficit in the National League Central reached double digits, 10 games out of first place.