Frankie worked a 1-2-3 second; so did Simon, with a couple of solid plays behind him. The Reds got a two-out knock in the third, a ball that just got under Josh, and that was it. Cutch walked with one away and went to third on a Freeser knock to right. Marte whiffed again - he's been biting on fastballs down and in, then put away with the splitter - and Fran bounced out to strand another pair. Simon is up to 71 pitches.
|Frankie's back in town (photo Justin Aller/Getty)|
The Bucs flashed leather in a clean fourth, with Freeser and Jordy both making plays on infield rockets. With two gone, Jordy and Frankie lined singles and JJ walked, but Cutch's weak roller ended the fun; that's seven stranded in four frames. The Reds evened it with two away in the fifth (one on some pretty shoddy running by Simon; he reached first on a misthrow, but was tagged out at second on the shoulder without sliding) when Billy Hamilton slapped a single and came around on Zack Cozart's double; the relay was a heartbeat ahead of the Red flyer, but the shorthop came up just a bit, allowing Hamilton to get under the tag.
Pittsburgh answered. Freese singled, Marte was hit in the hand (with review needed to confirm it didn't catch the bat first) and Fran dropped a looper into center to chase Freeser home. That brought JC Ramirez on, and a right side grounder and sac fly rang up another point. Frankie tossed a clean sixth, as did Ramirez.
Frankie opened the seventh and plunked Bruce in the elbow. A couple of nice grabs by Cutch and El Coffee was followed by a 45' roller by Hamilton for an infield knock. That was it for Frankie, who went 6-2/3 IP, giving up a run on five hits with NO walks, HBP, six whiffs and 109 pitches. Neftali Feliz climbed the muddy mound and got a first pitch pop to close it. Tony Cingrani kept the Bucs at bay. He gave up a pair of knocks that were stranded, bringing the LOB to 11.
Tony Watson toed the rubber in the eighth; he surrendered a one out walk, then got the next pair of Redlegs swinging. Caleb Cotham answered Bryan's Price's call, and was rudely greeted by the dynamic duo - Matt Joyce smoked a single and S-Rod lined one over the 379' mark in left center. The rest of the inning went quietly, except for Starling getting hit again, this time in the shoulder. AJ Schugel came on with a 5-1 lead, and sandwiched a walk around two outs. Hamilton hit a pop single into no man's land, and Clint called for the Shark, who fanned Cozart on three pitches.
|S-Rod goes yard to ice it (photo via Pittsburgh Pirates)|
We're not really with this save on a platter concept, especially with the Cubs coming to town. MM, to his credit, has used all of five pitches to nail the last two games, making three of his seven saves of the one out variety. Hopefully he won't be on ice during the Chicago festivities. Nice comeback game for Frankie; deep counts, but no walks. And God bless Matt and S-Rod; the bench has been awesome in April. One more to go before the anointed best team in baseball hits town.
- Jordy has a seven game hitting streak and 12 game on-base stretch. Josh is even hotter, with a nine game hit streak.
- John Jaso's first Pirate long ball was also his fifth career leadoff homer.
- 15 wins in April ties a team record for the most victories in the month.
- By putting up a zero in the second, Alfredo Simon broke of streak of six straight innings he had been scored on, giving up 19! runs in that span.
- The Reds’ bullpen has given up at least one run in 18 straight games to keep our bullpen woes in perspective.
- The crowd was 34,810 tonight; forget the weather, it's fireworks night!
- The players had a pre-game informational meeting with MLBPA and health officials concerning the Zika virus in Puerto Rico as they have a scheduled set of games with the Marlins in San Juan at the end of May. The players, we assume, will be kept in the loop, but whether the games will be played and if they are, under what safeguards, will be hashed out by MLB and the union.