Returning to regular season play on Friday night following the four-day All-Star break, the Pittsburgh Pirates (56-38) recorded three home runs, but dropped a 5-3 decision to the Reds in Cincinnati.
Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin all homered in the sixth inning, but each shot was a solo homer and they came after the Reds had jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
Chris Heisey homered for the Reds (54-42) in the first inning, and drove home a second run with a fifth-inning single. After Cincinnati continued their fifth-inning rally by loading the bases off Pirates starter Francisco Liriano (9-4; 2.44 ERA), Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle replaced Liriano, and the Reds’ Brandon Phillips greeted reliever Justin Wilson with a bases-clearing double.
Despite losing, the Pirates outhit the Reds 10-8 with Marte, Martin and Garrett Jones both recorded two hits. Heisey and Punxsutawney’s Devin Mesoraco both had two hits for Cincinnati.
Mike Leake (9-4; 2.79 ERA), the Reds’ starter, earned the win, beating Liriano for the third time this season. Aroldis Chapman earned his 22nd save.
The Bucs entered Saturday trailing St. Louis by two games in the National League Central Division, with Cincinnati five games back. The Pirates and Reds will play a 4:05 PM game on Saturday, with A.J. Burnett (4-6; 3.06 ERA) expected to earn a start against Cincinnati’s Mat Latos (8-3; 3.53 ERA).