The second didn't get a lot easier for Reynolds; Jordy Mercer dinked a ball to right, Jay Bruce made a dive to snare it and missed, and the ball rolled to the wall while Mercer steamed around the base paths with an inside-the-park homer without so much as a throw home. After a single by Josh Harrison, Reynolds put down the order while Cumpton tossed another clean frame.
Pedro got plunked in the hip with a hook with one away in the third - he's just playing in hopes of another HR in his long ball title quest, and we'll see with Dusty's starters in if this leads to anything - and Buck's short hop bounded past a fairly disinterested Zack Cozart to put Bucs on first and second. But Garrett Jones hit into a 4-6-3 DP, and Reynolds had his first scoreless frame. Cesar Izturis cued a single past a diving Pedro, the only mark against Cumpton after three.
Mercer led off the fourth with a triple, and a couple of singles by Harrison (for the RBI) and JT made it 3-0. After two down for the Reds, Jay Bruce walked, but Todd Frazier flew out; so far, so good for Brandon. A light drizzle is falling now; we hope for Cumpton, JT, Josh and Mercer's sake that another complete inning gets played (it ended up off-and-on showers all day). And there shouldn't be any beanball wars (no targets) as Dusty pulled Joey Votto, Bruce and Frazier.
Reynolds pitched a tidy fifth frame. Cozart opened the Reds' half with a double, but a pair of grounders to the left side and a pop up to short center kept him anchored. Ryan Ludwick and Cozart took a seat, and Curtis Partch worked the sixth. Except for a four pitch walk to Cumpton (who has a perfect day, with two sacs and a free pass, even if he doesn't have an official at bat) tossed a routine inning. Cumpton was at 65 pitches and replaced by Stolmy Pimentel (Andrew Lambo and Gaby - he took Pedro's place at 3b - also joined the fray), and Stolmy hurled a 1-2-3 frame.
Partch got three groundouts from the Bucs in the seventh, and it was three up, three down for Stolmy, too. Nick Christiani got the call in the eighth. With an out, Jones took him deep to right center to make it 4-0, and Mercer followed with his third knock, a liner to center. His only out was a ball that deflected off the pitcher's foot. Harrison hit one sharply, but on one hop to short to start a 6-4-3 DP. Jeanmar Gomez came on, and got roughed up. He gave up a single and back-to-back doubles, followed by a walk an out later. Gomez escaped the frame with just two runs scored thanks to a Neftali Soto 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.
Zach Duke took the ball in the ninth, and was nicked only by Lambo's soft infield knock. Kyle Farnsworth came in looking for his second Bucco save. Chris Heisey opened with a jam shot just past Mercer, and after getting ahead of Jack Hannahan 0-2, Farnsworth ran the count full. But there was no comeback for the Reds today; Hannahan spanked a hard one hopper to Josh, and even with the runner going it was an easy 4-6-3 DP. Henry Rodriguez whiffed swinging, and the Bucs had the win.
94 wins is a pretty sweet season, and sweeping the Reds before the wild card will knock down their swagger a notch or two. Now it's a day off and a win or go home game Tuesday at PNC Park.
- Bob Walk's Root Sport's three keys to the game: 1) don't get hurt; 2) don't break your favorite bat and 3) don't miss the bus.
- Brandon Cumpton now has a 15 inning scoreless streak.
- Garrett Jones' homer was his 100th as a Pirate.
- The Bucs have swept the Reds twice this season, once at PNC Park and once at GABP. The Reds enter the wild card game on their longest losing streak of the year, five games.
- Pittsburgh's 94 wins are the most since Jimmy Leyland's 1990-92 clubs, which won 95, 98 and 96 games.
- Jeff Locke, who many assume was going to pitch today, has been shut down by the Bucs and will not be part of the post-season roster. AJ Burnett and Charlie Morton will not be on wild card roster; but rest assured they'll be on the playoff roster. The team hasn't announced Tuesday's game roster yet.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball released his end-of-the-season Top 75 Prospects. The Bucs had six: pitchers Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow, outfielders Gregory Polanco and Austin Meadows, IF Alen Hanson and C Reese McGuire.