Reds waste early lead in loss to Bucs
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds were in good position to sweep a three-game series from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday and they let it slip away.
Travis Snider then hit an RBI single with two outs in the 11th inning and the Pirates, boosted by a stellar effort from their bullpen, beat the Reds 5-4.
Five Pittsburgh relievers combined for 10 scoreless innings. Starter Jeanmar Gomez was removed with tightness in his right forearm after giving up four runs in the first.
“When we have a foot on their throat, we’ve got to keep them down,” Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Sometimes, we’re not very good at that.”
They weren’t Sunday.
The Pirates’ Garrett Jones tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth inning with a two-run home run off set-up man Jonathan Broxton that cleared the right-field stands and reached the Allegheny River on the fly. It was just the second homer to make it into the river without bouncing and the first by a Pirates’ hitter. Daryle Ward hit the first on July 6, 2002, while playing for Houston.
It was Jones’ sixth home run of the season but first since May 10.
Broxton said he tried to throw a cut fastball on the inner half of the plate.
“He got to it in a hurry and it went a long, long ways,” Broxton said.
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart made a throwing error on Russell Martin’s one-out grounder in the 11th. After Pedro Alvarez walked, Jordy Mercer flied out before Snider then dropped a single into right-center off Alfredo Simon (4-2).
“I put Simon in trouble,” Cozart said. “I just threw it high. It was a bad play. We shouldn’t have lost this game. We didn’t add on extra runs, which is what you have to do when you have an early lead. You can’t give them any opportunity to stage a rally like they made.”
Alvarez also homered for Pittsburgh. Snider and Andrew McCutchen had two hits each.
Gomez left after allowing four hits, walking one and hitting a batter. Justin Wilson (5-0) finished with two innings while Vin Mazzaro and Bryan Morris each worked three innings, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli went one each.
Cincinnati starter Mat Latos, who was looking to improve to 6-0, dealt with a blown save for the fourth time this season. He got a no-decision after allowing two runs and three hits in six innings with seven strikeouts.
Baker lifted Latos after 94 pitches and would like to see him build more stamina.
“He threw the ball well but he hit that wall again,” Baker said. “He’s got to get over that wall and get past the 90-100 pitch mark. He’s bigger and stronger than that. That’s quite a few victories that got away from him.”
Cozart and Todd Frazier each had two hits for Cincinnati.
Cozart drove in the game’s first run with a triple after leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch. Jay Bruce and Xavier Paul then hit RBI singles and Devin Mesoraco capped the four-run first inning with a sacrifice fly.
Latos hit Neil Walker with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and both teams were issued a warning by plate umpire Bob Davidson. Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips, who entered the day with an NL-leading 45 RBIs, was hit twice in the series and got a bruised left forearm Saturday that caused him to miss Sunday’s game.
While the relievers held the Reds in check, Alvarez hit his 11th home run in the second inning and McCutchen singled in a run in the sixth to draw the Pirates within 4-2 before Jones tied it and Snider won it.
“Games like this happen in baseball, that’s the nature of the game,” Latos said. “We scored four runs early and their bullpen was able to hold us off. It’s disappointing but that’s baseball.”
NOTES: Baker said he expects Phillips to miss the three-game home series with Colorado that begins Monday night. … RHP Bronson Arroyo (5-5, 3.75) is scheduled to pitch the series opener for the Reds against RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-0, 2.12). … INF Cesar Izturis started in Phillips’ place and went 0-for-5.