McCoy: Pirates Extract Revenge

By Hal McCoy

It happens nearly every time.

Baseball’s unwritten rule is that if a team scores a bushel of runs one night, the next night it can’t find home plate with a seeing eye dog.

And that’s what happened to the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates a 9-5 defeat.

After scoring 11 runs Monday night, the Reds didn’t score a run Tuesday until they were down 8-0 in the fifth inning.

Reds starter Hunter Greene pitched seven shutout innings in Pittsburgh last Wednesday, but he was totally discombobulated Tuesday.

Pittsburgh jumped on him immediately for three runs in the first and it appeared something wasn’t right with him.

He walked Andrew McCutchen on a full count to open the game. After throwing a strike to Bryan Reynolds, he vomited on the mound.

Athletic trainer Tomas Vera and manager David Bell gathered at the mound to check Greene’s well-being. After a long consultation, he stayed in.

He threw a quick strike to Reynolds to go 0-and-2. The count went to 3-and-2 and Reynolds lambasted a 426-foot home run on an 86 miles an hour slider.

That extended Reynolds hitting streak to 22 games and gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead. With one out, Rowdy Tellez walked.

Despite him being one of the slowest runners in baseball, Tellez stole second standing up. That enabled him to score on a single by Nick Gonzalez for a 3-0 lead. . .A 32-pitch inning by Greene.

The wobbly Greene stayed in and gave up five straight singles to open the third that produced three more Pittsburgh runs.

Greene left after four innings and the Reds were on their way to lose for the sixth straight time when Greene started against the Pirates.

It was Pittsburgh’s 22nd win in their last 33 games against the Reds and dropped Cincinnati into fourth place, 9 1/2 games behind division-leading Milwaukee.

“Other than the first, and I know he gave up some singles in the third that led to runs. . .it was a tough first inning for Hunter,” said manager David Bell during his post-game interview on Bally Sports Ohio.

“I’m not out there, but I have to believe getting sick on the mound has some sort of effect,” he added. “But Hunter has been so good (4-0 over his previous seven starts) for us and he just needs to put this one behind him. He did finish strong, finished the fourth strong (1-2-3 with two strikeouts).”

Buck Farmer took over in the fifth and retired the first two, then issued a walk and Jared Triolo homered to make it 8-0.

From there the Reds did some too-late good things.

Leadoff hitter Jonathan India reached base in all five plate appearances with two walks, a hit by pitch and two doubles. He scored three of the Reds five runs.

Elly De La Cruz had two hits, a double and a single. his seventh multi-hit game in his last 11.

And Cuban-born relief pitcher Yosver Zulueta, called up just before game time, made his major league debut and was impressive after shaking the early jitters.

He was released by Toronto and the Reds picked up and he has performed well at Class AAA Louisville.

He walked his first two MLB batters, then struck out the next two. He gave up a run-scoring single to Tellez, then struck out Edward Olivares.

The strikeout of Olivares launched the skinny right-hander on a string of retiring seven straight. His three-inning line was one run, one hit, two walks and four strikeouts.

“He was really, really good,” said Bell. “He is talented and has a great sinker, throws hard, has good movement on his pitches. The most impressive thing was that he walked the first two hitters and just stayed with it and kept his composure. He has had the talent and now it is all coming together.”

On the down side, Will Benson was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, extending his lengthy slump to 0 for 25 and 1 for 31 with 17 strikeouts.

And Stuart Fairchild is nearly helpless against right-handed pitchers, 5 for 54, and he was 0 for 4 against them Tuesday.

The beneficiary of the early outburst was Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller. He also pitched seven scoreless innings in Pittsburgh last Wednesday against the Reds.

And the Reds did do something no other team has done since April — prevented Keller from going six or more innings. He missed bv one-third of an inning.

With two outs in the sixth, India doubled and scored on a ball De La Cruz blasted to deep center off the glove of Michael A. Taylor. It originally was ruled a trtiple and an RBI, but later changed to an error and no RBI.

That’s when Keller was lifted and his line was 5 2/3 innings, four runs, seven hits, three walks and six strikeouts. He improved his record to 9-4 and he is 7-1 over his last nine starts.

The Reds scored their final run in the ninth when India doubled, De La Cruz beat an infield single and Jeimer Candelario bounced into a double play that scored India.

The other downer(s) for the Reds is that pitcher Nick Lodolo was placed on the injured list with a blister and is expected to miss 15 days and first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand will undergo season-ending surgery on his wrist.

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