McCoy: Reds Again Fall Down In The ‘Pitts’

By Hal McCoy

The lineup for Wednesday’s matinee against the Pittsburgh Pirates was a combination Cincinnati/Louisville Reds/Bats.

It didn’t work. There were no matinee idols for the Reds, 6-1 losers, their eighth loss in 11 games.

After winning the opener the Reds lost the next two. It is the ninth time this season they won an opener but managed to lose the series. And it dipped them six games below .500 (37-43).

The Pirates, who don’t beat any other team with regularity, have won 23 of their last 33 against the Reds.

Graham Ashcraft was recalled from Class AAA Louisville after a 21-day get-better course to make Wednesday’s start.

It didn’t get better. He gave up a season-high six runs and a season-high nine hits that included two home runs.

Also sprinkled into the lineup were Nick Martini, who spent time in Louisville, Levi Jordan for his second start after a call-up from Louisville and Livan Soto, making his Reds debut after a call-up Wednesday from Louisville.

Martini, Jordan and Soto combined to go 1 for 9 with three strikeouts.

The regulars, though, didn’t do much better. . .only three other hits and outs in nine of their last plate appearances.

And the Reds were facing right-hander Luis Ortiz, who in his previous start gave up six runs and 10 hits in four innings against Colorado.

On Wednesday, he held the Reds to one run and four hits with no walks and a career-tying seven strikeouts over his six innings.

After he leftg, Kyle Nicolas and former Reds closer Aroldis Chapman retired nine of 10. Nicolas walked Tyler Stephenson to open the seventh, then nine straight Reds dragged their frustrated selves back to the dugout.

Chapman pitched the ninth and struck out both Elly De La Cruz and Tyler Stephenson on 102 miles an hour fastballs.

Bryan Reynolds singled with one out in the first, pushing his hitting streak to 23 games. But he was erased on a double play.

Jonathan India singled to open the bottom of the first and he, too, was erased via a double play.

India doubled in the third behind a single by Stuart Fairchild. Fairchild reached second on Ortiz’s balk and scored Cincinnati’s only run in India’s drive over the center fielder’s head.

India’s double enabled him to reach base for the 11th straight plate appearance, two shy of Barry Larkin’s club record 13 set in 1999. India’s streak stopped in the fifth when he popped to short.

The Pirates scored their first run off Ashcraft in the second when he gave up a walk, a single and a two-out 1-and-2 single to number eight hitter Jack Suwinski, owner of a .160 batting average.

After India’s hit tied it, 1-1, in the third, Ashcraft gave up a leadoff home run in the fourth to Rowdy Tellez on a full count.

Pittsburgh’s lead stretched to 4-1 when catcher Jason Delay doubled and Andrew McCutchen hit his 22nd career homer in Great American Ball Park.

Ashcraft gave up a pair of singles in the sixth and was replaced by Justin Wilson. Delay pulled a two-run double to the left field corner for a 6-1 lead.

Delay entered the game hitting .083 and was 1 for 12 when the game began. But he doubled twice, drove in three runs and scored a run.

Jake Fraley was in the original lineup, but was removed before the game with a lower right leg contusion suffered Tuesday when he fouled a pitch off his leg.

Jeimer Candelario didn’t play, a precautionary move due to lingering knee tendinitis and is scheduled for an MRI.

Will Benson did’t play, either, due to his sick bat — 1 for 31 with 17 strikeouts.

The Reds leave town to open a four-game series Thursday night in Busch Stadium against the second-place St. Louis Cardinals, then move on to New York for three against the Yankees.

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