|Ivan fell short again... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Freeser flared a single to right and died at first in the fourth, again with a couple of hard-hit outs. Baseball is funny - the Buc knocks have been hit softly, the outs hard. Go figure. A single, GIDP and another grounder ended the Redleg inning. Castillo breezed through the fifth; he's settled in and hitting his spots now. It took Jesse Winkler 166 at-bats, but he got his first dinger of the year off Nova. Fraze walked with an out in the sixth and it counted when Freeser crushed a 3-1 heater 435' into the seats as Castillo is missing the edges this inning. He switched to off speed stuff and got the next pair of Bucs handily. The Reds got a ripped single and bleeder around an out, bringing on Richard Rodriguez. After an out, Joey Votto got a call on a 3-2 pitch to walk, but the Reds left the sacks juiced for a change.
David Hernandez got the seventh inning call and was greeted with a two-bagger by AM off a two-strike curve. With two outs and Meadows on third, J-Bell grabbed a bat and Amir Garrett was given the ball. It took three pitches to set Bell down, the last a flail at a buried slider. Tyler Glasnow answered the phone and got three worm burners for a clean frame. Garrett cruised through the eighth. Ty fanned a pair - he threw a heater clocked at 100 past Adam Duval - before an inside out swing produced an opp field double, but no damage done. A Corey D single and one-out bomb by Meadows made it 5-4 and brought on Jared Hughes. He got lucky; Eli drilled one through the box, but Hughes deflected it to second for the 1-4-3 out. The Bucs challenged and lost; Eli is a lot of things but speedy isn't one of them. Gregory pinch hit and lifted a fly to deep right, but not deep enough and the Reds held on 5-4.
|Gonna be tough to send this kid back to the farm (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Nova has no one to blame for this loss but himself; walk the pitcher and misfire on a 10-foot flip, then give up the granny... We've been growling about inconsistency in the youngsters, but at worse they have an upside; Ivan is what he is and isn't going to suddenly blossom. With Nick Kingham and Tyler Glasnow both looking competent, it's time to put the magnifying glass on Nova (his 4.97 ERA is the rotation's worst mark and he hasn't won a game since April 15th) instead of playing musical chairs with the young guns.
- Austin Meadows had three hits. He's batting .440 with three homers and one strikeout in six games/25 at-bats. Freeser added a pair of knocks; both guys homered and had two RBI, accounting for all the Pirates scoring.
- The Buccos had seven hits, stranded just four runners and fanned 10 times; the Sunday lineup didn't generate much offense on this getaway day.
- This is the third straight start that Ivan Nova has committed an error.
- Jared Hughes, btw, has two saves and a 1.23 ERA for the Reds this year.