Pittsburgh Pirates fall just short of Reds, lose 4-3
Gerrit Cole limited the Cincinnati Reds to three runs (two earned) over five innings of work but he and the Pittsburgh Pirates were unable to walk away with a win last night, losing 4-3 in the third game of the series. Cole was handed just his fifth loss of the season which puts the Pirates at 60-43, 5.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
The Reds got on the board in the third inning with Eugenio Suarez‘s sacrifice fly that scored Marlon Byrd. The Pirates tied the game at one in the fourth on Jung Ho Kang‘s eighth home run of the year, but the Reds took the lead again in their half of the inning on Suarez’s double that once again brought in Byrd.
Cincinnati got another run off Cole in the fifth inning, making the score 3-1 when Jay Bruce hit a double deep to center and scored Brandon Phillips. The Pirates knocked one run off of Cincinnati’s lead in the seventh on Travis Ishikawa‘s run-scoring single. The Reds were able to get the run back in the eighth when (who else but) Suarez hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Bruce.
Down 4-2 heading into the top of the ninth, the Pirates did mount a comeback against Aroldis Chapman, but ultimately fell short. Neil Walker singled and was able to move to third on Sean Rodriguez‘s base hit. Francisco Cervelli knocked another single to score Walker and move Rodriguez to third. He was able to advance to second on the throw. After Gregory Polanco walked to load the bases with two outs, Starling Marte came up to bat in one of the worst situations a hitter can find himself. He struck out, leaving the Pirates a base hit away from potentially winning the game.
What Stood Out
Fortunately the Cardinals also lost last night, but these are the types of games that you hate to see slip away. Every team has games like this during the season and the Pirates are no exception, but these are great opportunities to chip away at the Cardinals’ lead and make up some ground within the division.
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But even in last night’s loss there are some positives to take away from the game. Polanco contributed two hits and Kang continues to make the most of his playing time. His signing is showing it’s value daily, as he has stepped in for Mercer in a big way. Once Mercer and Harrison are healthy, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a very strong bench for the remainder of the season.
The four-game series will conclude today when Charlie Morton and Keyvius Sampson face off at 1:10 PM. Morton had a fair outing his last time out when he won against the Minnesota Twins, but prior to that he had lost two starts in a row. Sampson will be making his first start in the majors and second appearance overall. His first appearance was in the Reds’ big 15-5 win over the Pirates to begin the series, as he struck out two in his one inning of work.