Pittsburgh Pirates Ride Big First Two Innings To Win Over Reds

CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 13: Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Bryan Reynolds #10 after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 13, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 13: Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Bryan Reynolds #10 after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 13, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Pirates win their fourth game of the season after riding an early offensive explosion to beat the Cincinnati Reds.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had not played since Sunday afternoon after the series vs the Cardinals was canceled. In their previous series, despite a lack of offense in the last game, the team’s bats had seemed to have woken up, as they scored 15 runs in the first game, and five in the second. The offense continued to show up today in their 9-6 win over a division rival Cincinnati Reds. Let’s breakdown tonight’s game.

The Offense

The Pirates scored a lot of runs, a nice refresher after losing 2-1 on Sunday. The Bucs kicked the offense off on the second pitch of the game with a lead off home run to right center field off the bat of second baseman Adam Frazier. After a Kevin Newman ground out, and a Josh Bell strikeout, Colin Moran added another run with a blast of his own to center field. This was his sixth of the season.

The line-up was far from done. Right fielder Gregory Polanco led off the second inning with a solo blast, his second of the year. Erik Gonzalez continued his hot streak with a double. He advanced to third base on a Jarrod Dyson sac-fly to right field, and was brought in on a RBI single by Jacob Stallings. Both Frazier and Newman hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Bell then hit a groundball single, scoring Stallings, and Frazier. But the Bucs loaded the bases yet again after a Moran single and a walk from Bryan Reynolds. Gregory Polanco stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning, who scored the Pirates’ 9th run of the game, and 7th of the inning.

The Pitching

Trevor Williams had a really good outing his last time out vs the Minnesota Twins, but didn’t fair as well today vs the Cincinnati Reds. He went five innings, and allowed three runs on seven hits. One of the seven hits being a Nick Senzel home run. However, he only walked one batter and struck out four.

Williams gave away to lefty Sam Howard. Howard has so far been a nice find for the Pirates. While he did give up a home run to Freddy Galvis, Howard went one and a third inning, didn’t give up a walk, and struck out 3 men, those three being Jesse Winker, Josh VanMeter, and Tucker Barnhart.

The pitching ran into a bit of trouble in the eighth inning. Geoff Hartlieb, who had taken over for Howard in the 7th, walked Joey Votto, and then gave up a single to Eugenio Suarez. Jesse Winker hit a groundball for a force out at second, but the Pirates were unable to turn two. Senzel, who had homered earlier, hit a double that barely squeaked by Gonzalez at third base. This scored Votto, and forced the Pirates to pull Hartlieb in favor of Richard Rodriguez. However, Rich-Rod shut the door by getting VanMeter on strike three, and Galvis to ground out to second base.

Keone Kela made his season debut after recovering and rehabbing from COVID, but it wasn’t his prettiest of games. Tucker Barnhart greeted Kela on his return with a lead off solo shot to start the 9th. Phillip Ervin then worked Kela for ten pitches before hitting a single on the 11th pitch of the plate appearance. But Kela settled down and got Votto to hit a deep flyball to Bryan Reynolds, and then got Suarez to strike out on a curveball in the dirt to end the game.

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What’s Next?

The Pirates will play tomorrow against the Reds again at 7:10. Chad Kuhl will faceoff vs Sonny Gray. This will be the first time since 2018 Kuhl will be given the start without the piggybacking stragety in place. Kuhl has so far been good, so hopefully he can carry the performance he’s been putting up tomorrow night.

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