The Pittsburgh Pirates, one out away from an important home win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night, gave up three runs with two out in the ninth inning, and Joey Votto’s 10th-inning home run gave the Reds a 6-5 victory, tying the teams for second place in the National League Central Division, two games behind St. Louis.
With a runner on second base and the Pirates leading 5-2 with two outs in the ninth, a throwing error by Jordy Mercer allowed a run to score. Closer Mark Melancon then dished up three consecutive singles, tying the game in his second consecutive blown save and fourth of the season.
After an RBI single by former Pirate Ryan Ludwick gave the Reds a 1-0 first-inning lead, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker led off the Pirates’ half of the frame with back-to-back home runs — only the fourth time Pittsburgh players had started a ballgame in that fashion. Later in the contest, Tabata, Mercer and Russell Martin provided RBI base hits. Todd Frazier tacked on a solo homer for the Reds.
The loss spoiled another fantastic starting performance by the Pirates’ wins leader, Francisco Liriano, who allowed only two runs and three hits over eight innings, striking out seven batters and walking three. Kyle Farnsworth (1-1 for Pittsburgh; 3-1 overall; 4.95 ERA) surrendered the Votto homer and took the loss. The win went to Reds reliever J.J. Hoover (5-5; 2.84 ERA), and Oraldis Chapman pitched a perfect 10th inning for his 38th save.