Pirates beat Reds again
Published 11:36 pm Saturday, September 24, 2011
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie Josh Harrison had four hits on Saturday night to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-3 victory over Cincinnati, assuring the Reds of a losing season a year after they won the NL Central.
Harrison finished a home run shy of the cycle and set a career high for hits as he had two singles, a double and a triple against his former hometown team. The third baseman was the Big East Conference Player of the Year at the University of Cincinnati in 2008.
In the midst of their 19th straight losing season, the Pirates need one more win for their highest total since 2004.
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Cincinnati fell to 76-82 with four games remaining. The Reds won their first division title in 15 years last season.
Neil Walker added three hits for Pittsburgh.
Brandon Phillips had two doubles among his three hits for Cincinnati and Joey Votto and Juan Francisco also doubled twice. Votto drove in two runs to become the first Reds player with back-to-back 100-RBI seasons since Dave Parker in 1985-86.
Brad Lincoln (2-3) went five innings for the win in his final start of the season, giving up two runs and six hits while walking four and striking out four. He bounced back from an awful outing against the Dodgers at Los Angeles last Sunday in which he allowed six runs in 1 2-3 innings of a 15-1 loss.
Travis Wood (6-5) had his 17-inning scoreless streak snapped in the second inning. He gave up four runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth, working around Phillips’ leadoff single, for the third save of his nine-year career and first since April 15, 2009, when he was pitching for Colorado against the Cubs.
Closer Joel Hanrahan was unavailable after throwing 31 pitches on Friday night.
Pittsburgh snapped a 1-1 tie and chased Wood during a three-run third inning.
Harrison led off with a triple that one-hopped the left-field fence and scored on Andrew McCutchen’s sacrifice fly. Ryan Ludwick also hit a sacrifice fly before Jason Jaramillo capped the inning with a single that drove in Walker, who had doubled.
Votto hit an RBI double in the fourth to draw the Reds within 4-2 and Edgar Renteria’s two-out RBI single in the eighth made it a one-run game.
Cincinnati opened the scoring in the first when Phillips led off with a double and scored on Votto’s one-out double. Ronny Cedeno hit a sacrifice fly in the second for the Pirates to tie the game at 1-1.
Pittsburgh won for the third time in four games while Cincinnati lost for the sixth time in eight games.
Notes: Pittsburgh finishes its home season Sunday when it tries to sweep the three-game series with RHP James McDonald (9-9, 4.28) facing Cincinnati LHP Dontrelle Willis (0-6, 5.04). McDonald has his last chance to finish the season with double-digit wins. The bullpen has blown five leads for him after the seventh inning. Willis, who has yet to win in 12 starts since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on July 10, missed his last turn in the rotation because of back spasms. … X-rays of Reds INF Todd Frazier’s left hand were negative after he was hit by a pitch from Pirates RHP Joel Hanrahan on Friday night. Frazier pinch hit in the sixth inning Saturday and struck out. … Pittsburgh had its 17th sellout of the season, helped by a postgame concert by the Steve Miller Band. That is the most sellouts for the Pirates since they had 19 in 2001, the year PNC Park opened.