Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro and Diego Castillo all hit home runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 on Monday night
Monday night the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a four-game, three-day series at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. After suffering a disappointing loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday that saw the Pirates blow an 8th inning lead, the team was able to bounce back to secure the first game of their series in Cincinnati.
The Pirates rode a trio of home runs to a 6-3 victory over the Reds to kick off their four-game series. With the win, the Bucs improve to 52-88 on the season which puts them 4.5 games behind the Reds for fourth place in the National League Central.
Home runs power the Pirate offense
It did not take long for the Pittsburgh Pirates to grab a lead on Monday night. With one out in the top of the 1st inning, Bryan Reynolds launched a solo home run. His 22nd home run of the season was a 407 foot moonshot and gave the Bucs a quick 1-0 lead.
After the Reds took a 2-1 lead with a two-run home run by Aristides Aquino in the bottom of the 4th inning, the Pirates quickly punched back. Back-to-back singles by Kevin Newman and Reynolds to start the inning set the stage for Rodolfo Castro.
Castro hit a Great American Ballpark speciality as his home run just barely scrapped over the outfield wall. However, all that matters is that the ball made it to the seats. Castro’s 9th home run of the season made the score 4-2 Pirates.
Later in the 5th inning, the lead grew to 6-2 when Diego Castillo got in on the home run fun. Making his return to the Pirate lineup after being re-called from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, Castillo’s two-run shot was his 11th of the season and capped off a five-run 5th inning for the Pirates.
Bryse Wilson pitches better than his final line indicates
While he has struggled for most of the season, righty Bryse Wilson has turned in some better starts of late. Monday night Wilson turned in another strong start, with the runs he allowed not being completely of his doing.
Wilson was charged with 3 runs on seven hits, two walks, a home run and fort strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched. However, his final stat line did not tell the full story for Wilson.
Aquino’s 4th inning home run came after Ke’Bryan Hayes bobbled what looked like a double play ball leading to the Pirates only getting one out on the play. Had Hayes started the twin kill, Aquino would not have batted in the inning. While Wilson did load the bases thanks in part to a pair of walks in the 6th inning, Newman bobbled a ground ball with two outs that resulted in a run-scoring infield hit. Had Newman fielded the ball cleanly, he would have thrown out the runner at first to end the inning with the score still 6-2.
Strong work from Robert Stephenson
Former Reds first-round pick Robert Stephenson toed the rubber against his former squad on Monday night and gave the Pirates strong work. He got a line out to center field to end the 6th inning and then struck out all three batters he faced in the 7th inning.
Stephenson still has plus stuff and was an intriguing waiver claim by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He could be a name to watch for trying to earn a bullpen spot next spring, especially if he can finish the season strong.
Wil Crowe finishes off the game
Wil Crowe pitched a scoreless 8th inning, but it did not come easy. After quickly recording the first two outs of the inning he issued a walk and allowed a hit before getting the final out of the inning, keeping the score at 6-3.
All season long pitching multiple innings has been a problem for Crowe. Despite this, Derek Shelton sent Crowe back out for the 9th inning. Even though it did not come easy, Crowe was able to slam the door on the Reds.
The first two batters of the inning reached against Crowe. After he picked up a strikeout, it looked like Crowe’s night could be over. The left-handed hitting T.J. Friedl was stepping to the plate for the Reds and Manny Bañuelos was ready to go in the Pirate bullpen. Shelton stuck with Crowe, however, and it worked out as he got the final two outs of the game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds are slated to play a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. Game one is scheduled to start at 12:35 PM ET while game two is scheduled to start at 6:40 PM ET. In one of the two games right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz will start for the Pirates and make his MLB debut.