The Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6) exploded for a total of ten runs in the seventh and eight innings at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep of visiting Cincinnati (5-7) and moving into second place in the National League Central Division with a 10-7 win over the Reds.
The Pirates have won five of their last six games, and now trail the first-place St. Louis Cardinals by one game.
Michael McKenry homered in both innings, Starling Marte slammed a two-run homer, and Travis Snider settled for an RBI double when he was robbed by a fan of a two-run homer when the fan reached over the railing and muffed a attempted catch of the ball. After a video review, the umpires upheld the original call. The decision became a moot point after Andrew McCutchen’s subsequent double scored Snider.
Neil Walker slammed three hits and drove home a run. Gaby Sanchez drove in a pair of runs with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. Marte, McCutchen, McKenry and Snider all finished with 2 hits.
The Pirates had trailed 5-0 after four-and-a-half innings, and the score remained the same until after the seventh-inning stretch. Phil Irwin, making his first Major League start after a recall from “AAA” Indianapolis, was charged with all five of the Reds’ early runs, while Pittsburgh scored six of their tallies off Cincinnati reliever Jonathan Broxton (0-1). Jared Hughes (1-0) was credited with the win.
The Bucs outhit the Reds 15-11. Brandon Phillips was 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs for Cincinnati, while Joey Votto homered.
On Saturday, Garrett Jones and Jose Tabata provided RBI doubles, and Marte delivered an RBI single in a 3-1 win over the Reds. Zach Cozart had three hits and provided Cincinnati’s only run with a third-inning home run. Pirates starter Jeff Locke (1-1) worked only five innings, but allowed just one run and four hits to earn the win. He walked four batters. Cincinnati starter Jonny Cueto left the game with an injury in the fifth inning, and is rumored to be headed for the injury list.
The Pirates opened the series with a 6-5 victory on Friday night. McCutchen snapped a 5-5 tie with a seventh-inning leadoff home run. McCutchen, Walker, Marte and Jones all finished with two hits. McCutchen drove in three runs, Walker had two RBIs and Russell Martin drove home a run. Phillips homered twice for the Reds. Tony Watson (1-0) earned the win in a relief role after blowing a save opportunity for Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett, while Grilli recorded the save, and Reds reliever J.J. Hoover (0-3) took the loss.
On Monday night, the Bucs will home a three-game home series with St. Louis (7-5). James McDonald (1-1) is slated to start for Pittsburgh against the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn (1-0).