Both sides went down on order in the second. The Reds were 1-2-3'ed in the third. McDonald has K'ed two per inning so far, giving him a six-pack. The Bucs gave him the lead in their half when JT bopped a double with two away and Neil Walker hit his first long fly of the year over the right field wall to put Pittsburgh up 2-0.
Buc glovework kept the Reds at zero in the fourth. Joey Votto led off by bouncing a ball into the left field seats for a ground rule double. He went to third on a roller and tried to score on a Jay Bruce grounder to first. Casey McGehee snagged the ball, stepped on first and fired home, nailing Votto on a rare 4-2 DP. The play was bang-bang, as Barajas had to reach for the throw and didn't quite block all of the dish. The Pirates wasted a walk in their half, and it was 2-0 after four.
The next two frames rolled along without damage, as Cincy rolled into a pair of DPs and the Bucs stranded a pair in the sixth. The Reds struck in the seventh. With an out, Jay Bruce dropped a single into center that Cutch couldn't come up with, and ended up on third when the ball got by him. Rolen singled into left to cut the lead in half.
That got all of Clint Hurdle's wheels spinning. Out came J-Mac, who went 6-1/3 frames (the third straight game he's gotten into the seventh), giving up a run on six hits with two walks and seven Ks after 99 pitches, and in came Juan Cruz. Out also came Garrett Jones. Alex Presley took over in right, and JT went back to his regular spot in right. Presley went in the pitcher's spot, with J-Mac due up third and it would be a fortuitous switch.
Cruz ended the inning quickly. Ryan Ludwick pinch hit, and lifted a fly to medium deep center. Rolen, apparently thinking Cutch was asleep at the switch tagged and was tossed out by a mile. But the Reds had cut the lead to 2-1 despite their Lastings Milledge tribute on the basepaths.
The first two Pittsburgh hitters went down quietly in their half, but Alex Presley drilled a slider over the Trib sign in right center to build the lead back to a pair. Maybe a little pine time motivated him. At any rate, it would prove to be a big run.
Jason Grilli was greeted by a Devon Mesoraco single. After an out, Zack Cozart doubled into the left field corner. The ball came out hard and Presley had to knock it down before he could corral it, and that gave Mesoraco the time he needed to plate.
The Pirates could have made it easy on themselves in the eighth, but... Jose Arredondo came on. he got an out, the walked Cutch. Then he picked off Cutch. Two walks and a single later, the Pirates had the bases juiced, but Clint Barmes went down swinging. It was Hammer time, and in a real save situation.
But he was back to the ol' Hanny, and got a fly and two pops to end the game without any extra drama.
The Pirates won today with their gloves. Cuctch made a couple of nice grabs, JT may have saved a run with and over-the-shoulder grab, Clint Barmes made a sweet grab and Casey McGehee saved another run with his tag-and-toss DP. A couple of longballs provided the offense, and J-Mac was strong again. It was all good stuff tonight.
Tomorrow's game is at 1:35 with Charlie Morton going against Mat Latos.
- Neil Walker's homer was his first since September 4, 2011 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.