A home run by Todd Frazier and a three-run double by Jay Bruce highlighted a five-run first inning for the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park in Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon, and the Reds (89-67) sailed on to an 11-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates (also 89-67).
The barrage sent Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke (10-7; 3.52 ERA) to the showers after the initial inning, but relievers Jeanmar Gomez, Vin Mazzaro and Jared Hughes combined to allow six additional runs. Through the middle of the game, Brandon Cumpton and Stolmy Pimentel combined on five scoreless innings for the Pirates.
For the second straight game, the Pirates managed only five hits. Neil walker and Travis Snider both slammed solo home runs, and Justin Morneau provided a run with a sacrifice fly.
The Reds exploded for 16 hits, with rookie center fielder Billy Hamilton and left fielder Chris Heisey both going 3-for-5. Former Pirate Bronson Arroyo, who started for Cincinnati, earned the win. Arroyo (14-11; 3.60 ERA) worked just five innings, allowed all three runs and all five hits, struck out three batters and walked two. Reds relievers Alfredo Simon, Manny Parra and Logan Ondrusek combined on four innings of no-hit bullpen help.
First-place St. Louis dropped a 6-4 nighttime decision at Milwaukee, so the Pirates and the Reds both trail the Cardinals by two games in the National League Central Division. While Pittsburgh begins a three-game series in Chicago on Monday night, the Cardinals will host Washington and the Reds will entertain the New York Mets. Washington split a Sunday doubleheader with Atlanta, and the Nationals’ loss in the day’s opener enabled the Pirates’ “magic number” for clinching a playoff position to two.
In the opener of the Pirates-Cubs series at Wrigley Field, Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton (7-4; 3.35 ERA) is scheduled to face Chicago’s Jeff Samardzjia (8-12; 4.42 ERA).