Pittsburgh Pirates Defeat The Reds, Improve To 68-71

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 04: Gregory Polanco #25 celebrates with Jordan Luplow #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates after scoring during the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 4, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 04: Gregory Polanco #25 celebrates with Jordan Luplow #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates after scoring during the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 4, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have now won back-to-back games

7. 4. Final. 3. 61

The Pittsburgh Pirates entered Tuesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds seeking a series victory. Following a 7-3 victory over the Reds, the Pirates were successful in capturing said series victory.

With the win on Tuesday night, the Bucs improved to 11-4 against the Reds this season and 68-71 overall. It also gave the team their first series victory since taking two of three in Denver against the Rockies on August 6th – 8th.

Making his 17th start of the season, righty Joe Musgrove toed the rubber for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. Musgrove was opposed by Cincinnati lefty Cody Reed.

With a lefty on the hill, the Pirates sent out a right-handed heavy lineup. This lineup included a pair of September call-ups that were added to the roster earlier in the day – Jose Osuna and Pablo Reyes. For Reyes, this was his first MLB start.

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Despite the righty heavy lineup, it was the Pirates’ left-handed hitters doing damage early on.

Adam Frazier doubled with one out in the bottom of the 1st inning and Gregory Polanco snuck a single through the left side of the infield. Polanco’s single put runners on the corners with just one out and the Pirates in position to grab an early lead.

Francisco Cervelli stepped to the plate after Polanco and hit a ball to almost the exact same spot that Polanco did. Like Polanco, Cervelli’s ball snuck through the infield for a base hit. This hit scored Frazier and gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

Osuna then stepped to the plate and was the victim of some bad luck. Osuna ripped a ball 100.2 MPH, but right at Cincinnati third baseman Eugenio Suarez. Suarez then quickly fired to second base to double off Polanco to end the inning.

The Pirate lead grew to 3-0 in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Polanco laced a double to right field that scored Starling Marte and Frazier. Cervelli followed Polanco’s double by reaching on an infield hit after Suarez misplayed a ball. After they executed a double steal, Osuna hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-0 Pirates.

PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 04: Joe Musgrove #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 4, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 04: Joe Musgrove #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 4, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

After Musgrove fired a 1-2-3 top of the 4th inning, Reyes led off the bottom of the 4th inning with an infield hit. This infield single was the first MLB hit for Reyes. Two batters later, Reyes scored when Marte launched a two-run home run to right-center field. Marte’s 18th home run of the season gave the Pirates a 6-0 lead.

After cruising through his first 6 innings of work, Musgrove hit a wall in the top of the 7th inning.

With one out in the inning, Musgrove allowed a solo home run to Scooter Gennett. Back-to-back Cincinnati hits put runners on the corners for the Reds, leading to Musgrove being pulled for Richard Rodriguez with one out in the inning.

After walking Tucker Barnhart to load the bases, Rodriguez hit Phillip Ervin with a pitch. This hit by pitch allowed an inherited runner to score, cutting the Pirate lead to 6-2.

Prior to allowing an inherited runner to score in the top of the 7th inning, Rodriguez had stranded 20 consecutive inherited runners. No one in the NL has been better at stranding inherited runners than Rodriguez this year, as he had not allowed an inherited runner to score since May 13th.

After his bout of wildness, Rodriguez got a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning while also closing the book on Musgrove. In 6 1/3 innings pitched, Musgrove allowed two runs on five hits, a solo home run, no walks, and eight strikeouts.

Kyle Crick pitched the top of the 8th inning for the Pirates. For a second consecutive day, Gennett hit a solo home run off of Crick. His second solo shot of the night cut the Pirate lead to 6-3. The bottom half of the 8th inning saw the night of firsts continue for Reyes who hit his first career double and picked up his first career RBI in the process, making the score 7-3 Pirates.

In the 9th inning it was Felipe Vazquez time. Felipe continued his dominant season by retiring the Reds in order to finish off the 7-3 Pirate victory.

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The Pirates will go for the series sweep at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night. Jameson Taillon will take the ball for Clint Hurdle and the Pirates, while the Reds will send the struggling Homer Bailey to the mound.