From the early days of Spring Training, new Reds manager Bryan Price proclaimed that his club would be more aggressive on the bases and take chances. There have been times in the early going where they’ve been burned by their ambitiousness.
But there also have been several successful scoring chances created, and that was the case during a 5-2 Reds win over the Pirates on Wednesday night.
“In many ways, it forced their pitchers to have to be a little bit more concerned with our running game and hold the ball and step off and throw over and quicken up their deliveries,” Price said. “That benefits us if they’re getting uncomfortable on the mound, having to rush themselves to the plate or what might be. We want to take advantage of anything that’s out there, and these guys have been aggressive.”
Overcoming early wildness, Reds starting pitcher Alfredo Simon provided another quality start with two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings. Simon, who issued four walks over his first three starts, walked five Pirates and struck out four.
“Having a tough first inning and finding his command and finding a way to keep himself in there until the seventh inning was pretty impressive,” Price said.
“In the first inning, I think with the cold weather, I didn’t really feel the ball very well. I walked three guys in a row,” said Simon, who had a 29-pitch first frame. “After I got out of that inning, I tried to focus on keeping the ball down and just put it in play.”
It was Hamilton’s one-out RBI single into left field that scored Devin Mesoraco and made it a 2-2 game. Hamilton stole second base and Stewart’s second error allowed Santiago to score from third base on the play as Hamilton took third. Following an intentional walk to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips’ walk to load the bases, Hamilton scored on a Jay Bruce fielder’s choice.
“We took advantage of the opportunities that were presented to us,” said Bruce, who stole two bases. “This is a team that might not give you a lot at times. You have to take advantage of them, and tonight we did.”
The Reds have won six of their last eight games and can take the four-game series with a victory Thursday.
“Great win,” Price said. “Both pitching staffs really held the offense down as far as multiple-hit innings and things of that nature. We were really able to scratch out our runs.”