By HAL McCOY
Another long, disappointing and frustrating season came to a merciful conclusion Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh for the Cincinnati Reds.
During their 150th-year franchise history celebration, the Reds finished 2019 with their sixth straight losing season.
Their 75-87 record. is the best since 2014 when the team went 76-86, the team’s best record over the six years of losing records. And the Reds ended a string of four straight last place finishes
They finished fourth, mostly due to the ineptness of the last place Pittsburgh Pirates.
With manager Clint Hurdle fired before Sunday’s game, the Pirates pretty much mailed it during their final game,
They bowed meekly to the Reds, 3-1, enabling Cincinnati to finish the season on a two-game winning streak.
The Reds scored three runs on three solo home runs — Aristides Aquino (19), Brian O’Grady (2) and Alex Blandino (1).
Unfortunately, Eugenio Suarez did not hit his 50th home run. But his 49 are the most ever by a National League third baseman, most every by a Venezuelan-born player and three shy of George Foster’s club record.
Trevor Bauer was scheduled to start Sunday’s game, but an illness that swept through the Reds clubhouse caught up with him.
His stand-in was 12-game loser Tyler Mahle, perhaps pitching for his rotation life for 2020. And he acquitted himself with style — five innings, no runs, three hits, no walks five strikeouts. It was Mahle’s first win since May.
The bullpen gave up one run over the final four innings, enabling Mahle to finish the season at 3-and-12.
With close Raisel Iglesias sitting in the dugout, Michael Lorenzen made his 76th pitching appearance in the ninth inning and recorded the save.