Down by two runs in the ninth inning, Aki Iwamura swung at the first pitch for a groundout. Delwyn Young followed with a blast to center field that glanced off the glove of Drew Stubbs before he crashed into the wall with his left shoulder. Young trotted into second base with his second double of the night. The Pirates were in business with the tying run on base in a 7-5 contest with Francisco Cordero on the bump looking for his 15th save.
Andrew McCutchen had a 1-2 count and nearly missed getting caught looking on a Cordero heater. McCutchen continued to hack several pitches foul like he did all night, but would swing and miss on a pitch well out of the strike zone for the second out. The one out double by Young was wasted when Garrett Jones grounded out to first on a 1-0 pitch.
It was a fitting, frustrating end to an ugly game. Ronny Cedeno stayed hot and Delwyn Young had a solid game. Cedeno and Young drove in four runs, but much like the ninth inning, the heart of the order didn’t produce. The one pimple on the McCutchen season has been that he hasn’t been very exciting with RISP this year.
But the pitching and defense were the Pirates downfall last night. The Reds sent Aaron Harang to the bump and the Pirates allowed him to go 6.1 innings, allowing five runs and four earned. The Bucs just couldn’t get the knockout punch on Harang.
Harang delivered a rather big punch of his own with the bat. With two outs and a runner on third and the score tied in the fourth inning, Harang took his .090 lifetime batting average to the plate and delivered. He drove in the run and came around to score from first base on a double. He scored standing up in front of a Doumit swipe tag.
“I was pretty spent after that,” Harang said. “I haven’t run the bases like that in long time. I told (Orlando) Cabrera not to expect that again.”
Drew Stubbs went 3for4 with a double, home run and two RBIs helping the Reds to their seventh win in the past ten games.
Brian Burres lost his command in that key fourth inning for the Pirates. He walked Jonny Gomes and Jay Bruce and Stubbs singled to load the bases. He got Ryan Hanigan to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Gomes scored to tie the game. Then up came Harang and I nearly lost my mind.
By the time I got myself back together it was 6-2 after Pirate killer Joey Votto doubled in Brandon Phillips to make it 6-2. The Reds made it 7-2 on a Stubbs homer in the fifth inning.
In the seventh, Cedeno led off with a single, Iwamura walked and Young sent Harang to the showers when he drove both of his Bucco teammates home with a double. But the with a key RISP, McCutchen didn’t deliver on this night. He struckout against Enerio Del Rosario, who was making his MLB debut, but still reached on catcher Hanigan’s passed ball.
Daniel Ray Herrera came on and gave up a sacrifice fly to Garrett Jones, but Ryan Church groundout to end the inning.
Cutch was 1-for-5, Jones was 0-for-4, Church was 0-for-4. Nine teammates were left on base during their plate appearances.
Why is Ryan Church being given opportunities to start? He is 9-for-52 in May. 218 OBP. Thankfully, he does have two homers, but that was 20 days ago. Thankfully, he had three hits against Atlanta because he has five 0-for-4’s in his past six starts.
Steve Pearce turned his ankle and was on crutches after the game. The xray was negative. Here is the video
The Altoona Curve have won six straight and are 12 games over .500.