By HAL McCOY
After losing 11 straight games to the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park, the Cincinnati Reds finally won a game — a game they shouldn’t have won.
It took them 12 innings to do it, a game that ended well after midnight, a 4-2 decision.
The game-winning run came on a two-out double by Jose Iglesias. Relief pitcher R.J. Alaniz gave himself an insurance run by following the hit by Iglesias with a run-scoring single, his first major league hit on his first professional at bat during his 10-year minor and major league career.
Iglesias was on base five times with three hits and two walks and scored a run while driving in two.
Then Alaniz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to gain his first major league victory.
And why should the Reds not have won this one?
Until the Iglesias hit, they were 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 14 baserunners. They put the leadoff batter on base five times and one scored.
They had 11 hits and were issued eight walks through 11 innings and had only two runs to show for it. None of the eight batters who walked scored.
What saved them?
After starting pitcher Lucas Sims gave up two runs in three innings, the Reds bullpen gave up no runs over the final nine innings.
In order, the bullpenners were Matt Bowman, Amir Garrett, Sal Romano, Kevin Gausman, Raisel Iglesias and Alaniz.
Raisel Iglesias gave up two hits during his one inning. But the rest of the bullpen gave up one hit over 8 1/3 innings with six strikeouts.
But a win is a win is a win, something the Reds have done only three times in their last 21 games in PNC Park.
Gausman performed a show-stopping escape act in the ninth inning. He gave up a walk and a double. The Pirates had runners on third and second with no outs, a walk-off win just 90 feet from home plate.
Gausman, though, struck out Jose Osuna. He issued an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Melky Cabrera to load the bases,
With the Reds employing a five-man infield, moving right fielder Aristides Aquino to the right side of the infield, Gausman struck out Jake Elmore with a 98 miles an hour fastball. He ended the inning on a first-pitch pop-up by Erik Gonzalez.
After the start of the game was delayed and hour and five minutes by rain, Tucker Barnhart hit a two-out home run in the second inning to give the Reds a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates scored two off Lucas Sims in the second, one on a passed ball charged to catcher Tucker Barnhart and another on catcher Steven Baron’s double, his first major league hit.
The Reds tied it, 2-2, in the fourth on a single by Jose Iglesias. From there, the teams played seven scoreless innings.
Ineptitude? The Reds were masters of it.
—Brian O’Grady doubled and Jose Peraza walked with no outs in the third. The Reds didn’t score.
—Jose Peraza led the fifth with a double. The Reds didn’t score.
—Jose Iglesias singled and O’Grady doubled with no outs in the seventh. The Reds didn’t score.
—Kyle Farmer walked leading off the eighth and Iglesias walked with two outs. The Reds didn’t score.
—Michael Lorenzen led the 11th with a single and Eugenio Suarez reached on a two-out error. The Reds didn’t score.
Aristides Aquino stranded five runners in scoring position by making the third out of an inning three times.
Aquino went 0 for 6 and Joey Votto went 0 for 5.
But, again, a win is a win is a win, even if it was against the last place Pirates and especially because it was in PNC Park, the Reds personal House of Horrors.