Shin-Soo Choo reached when Gaby dropped Pedro's throw (El Toro got the error) to open the first for Brandon Cumpton. He stole second, and scored an out later when Joey Votto singled to left after Cumpton threw one behind him, in an apparent shot across Bailey's bow. Votto was caught stealing before Brandon Phillips rolled one through the left side for a knock. Jay Bruce flew out to finish the first 1-0 bad guys.
McKenry singled with two down in the second to turn the order over; Bailey has five K already. The Reds went down routinely. With two down in the third, Cutch and Jones had back-to-back knocks, and Pedro followed with a third to tie the game. Gaby ended the frame with a liner to fairly deep center; let's hope the inning becomes a trend rather than an outlier. Choo singled off Cumpton in the Red half, but was erased stealing (yay again The Fort!) and it finished out quietly.
Walker reached on an error in the fourth, but never got past second.With two down, Cumpton had a testy frame. Jay Bruce homered, Todd Frazier singled and Zack Cozart walked, but a Ryan Hanigan liner was snagged by Jones in right to finally close the inning. The fifth was 1-2-3 for both sides.
Pedro caught a heater to start the sixth and banged it over the fence in right center. The Bucs went down quietly after that, but it was an even game again. Cumpton got the hook after he went five innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk with three K after 90 pitches. Bryan Morris took over in the sixth. He gave up a single to Votto and nada else.
The Bucs loaded the bases off Alfredo Simon with one down in the seventh on Morris and Marte knocks plus a Cutch walk; the only out was a popped up bunt by Mercer. Lefty Tony Cingrani got the call. Jones fouled a few off, but went down swinging. But Pedro ruined the matchup; he ripped a fastball into the right field corner, clearing the bases and giving the Bucs a 5-2 lead. Gaby drilled one to second to end the frame, but it was a good one as Pedro collected his third, fourth and fifth RBI of the day. Cozart led off with a double in the Reds half; a pair of grounders made it 5-3 after seven. Choo reached with two outs on a single-and-error when McKenry airmailed his bunt into right, but Morris got Xavier Paul on a soft fly.
JJ Hoover came on for the eighth, and the Pirates infuriated again. Walker led off with a double. The Fort K'ed, The Kid was caught stealing, and poof went an insurance run. Tony Watson came in to face the middle of the Reds lineup, and tucked them away, making the ninth a much more manageable inning.
The Bucs went down with nary a peep. The Reds stepped up, and two grounders and a whiff later, Tony Watson had his second save of the year (both two-inning stints) and Bryan Morris his fourth win. Give the unsung Cumpton his props; he came in and kept the Pirates in a game for the second time. The Bucs took a hard fought split, coming back after a bitter loss, but have to start converting chances into runs. It's hard to walk the tightrope every night.
Gerrit Cole Takes on Jered Weaver and the Angels tomorrow night.
- Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon, Justin Wilson and Vin Mazzaro are all unavailable today, leaving Bryan Morris, Tony Watson and Ryan Reid, with Duke Welker added to the pack. Additionally, Grilli and Melancon are off Friday against the Angels, too, per reports. The Pirates will be a bench player short today, with Alex Presley being sent down.
- The Pirates sit at #5 in Yahoo!Sports Baseball Power Rankings.