The Reds’ recent momentum was stopped cold Saturday night by Pirates starter A.J. Burnett. The right hander had 12 strikeouts over seven innings. But he was also given help from Cincinnati’s mistakes as they fall 4-2 to Pittsburgh Saturday night at PNC Park.
After taking a 2-0 lead through two innings, the Reds were unable to double down on inflicting more pain on the Pirates after Friday’s improbable win. Cincinnati saw its four game winning streak snapped.
Besides dropping back to third place and one game back of the second place Pirates (89-66), who own the Wild Card lead, the Reds (88-67) fell to three games behind the first place Cardinals, who beat the Brewers on Saturday, in the National League Central.
A two out error in the ninth inning by the Pirates opened the door for the Reds’ victory Friday. Cincinnati’s errors much earlier in Saturday’s game did them in.
It was a 2-2 game in the sixth inning, when Pittsburgh used a walk and error by Bailey to move ahead. Bailey walked Andrew McCutchen with one out and made two pickoff throws to first base. The second one was slightly wide of first base and off of Joey Votto‘s glove. McCutchen went all the way to third base on an error charged to Bailey.
Justin Morneau walked on four pitches before Marlon Byrd‘s sacrifice fly to the deep right center field easily scored McCutchen with the go ahead run. Bailey was lifted in favor of lefty Zach Duke instead of JJ Hoover don’t why there, who gave up an RBI single to his only batter, Pedro Alvarez, that gave the Pirates a two run lead.
Two of the four runs on Bailey’s line (11-11) were unearned over 5 2/3 innings, with only three hits allowed. He tied a season high with four walks, while striking out three. He entered the night 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA in six career starts at PNC Park.
Like in Friday’s series opener, the Reds took the lead first in the top of the first. After Burnett allowed a one out single and a walk, Ryan Ludwick lined an RBI single. In the top of the second, on a first pitch, Zack Cozart hit a leadoff home run to left-field for a 2-0 lead.
The Reds’ only other hit in the game came on Ludwick’s leadoff single against re-installed Pirates closer Jason Grilli. Ludwick was erased in a double play, and Grilli notched his first save in 2 months.
An early turning point also came in the bottom of the second after Bailey notched a double play from Byrd. Next was Alvarez, who bounced a routine grounder toward first base. As Bailey covered first base, Votto booted the ball for an error his 14th and the most among Major League first basemen.
How quick the mistake would compound as Russell Martin hit the next pitch, a mistake fastball over the middle of the plate, for a two-run homer to left field that made it a 2-2 game. This afternoon pitching match up will be Bronson Arroyo and Jeff Locke. First pitch is at 1:35pm.