The Pirates will look to complete a sweep of their two-game series against the slumping Reds at when the teams meet at the Great American Ball Park.
Pittsburgh has won four of five despite trading away two regulars and its top two relievers the last week in seperate cost-cutting trades.
Newcomer Jose Hernandez hit a tying solo homer and Matt Stairs had another solo shot in the ninth as the Pirates rallied to beat the Reds 6-5 on Wednesday. Randall Simon also homered as Pittsburgh overcame an early three-run deficit and three days of roster-gutting trades.
“We don’t sit around here and say, ‘Man, we’ve lost four guys and we’re done,”’ said Stairs, who will get more chances in a reconfigured lineup. “Guys are getting opportunities. Some guys are pumped up about the chance to play every day.”
“My first two at-bats, I was kind of excited, being with a different team,” Hernandez said. “The last at-bat was key. I hope that everything will change from today on and I’ll start getting better at the plate.”
The Reds have lost six of their seven games since the All-Star break, falling a season-high 12 games under .500. Cincinnati has not pitched well all year and injuries have weakened its outfield depth since the All-Star break.
The Reds’ best hitting outfielder has been Jose Guillen and he’s facing a disciplinary suspension.
The 27-year-old Guillen was in the lineup Wednesday despite having a disciplinary hearing before the game. Guillen has appealed a two-game suspension for bumping an umpire, and is awaiting a decision.
Guillen leads Cincinnati with a .341 batting average to go with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs.
STANDINGS: Pirates - 4th place, 9 1/2 GB, NL Central. Reds - 5th place, 11 1/2 GB, NL Central.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff D’Amico (6-10, 3.80 ERA). The right-hander is 1-3 over his last five starts despite a 2.16 ERA over that stretch. Pittsburgh’s offense failed to muster any runs for D’Amico in his last outing, as the Pirates suffered a 1-0 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday. D’Amico went seven innings, holding the Brewers to one run and nine hits without walking a batter in the loss.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Jimmy Haynes (2-10, 5.86 ERA). Haynes has lost five of his last six decisions. The right-hander lasted just 1 1-3 innings, after yielding six runs and six hits—three of them home runs—in a 9-8 loss to Houston on Saturday.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Pirates - Jason Kendall, .310 avg. and 57 runs; Reggie Sanders, 16 HRs; Brian Giles, 50 RBIs; Sanders and Pokey Reese, 6 SBs. Reds - Guillen, .341 avg.; Dunn, 25 HRs and 58 runs; Aaron Boone, 61 RBIs and 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Pirates, 5-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Pirates - OF Giles is 5-for-32 in his career against Haynes. Two of his hits were home runs. … C Kendall appealed a three-game suspension for a fight against Tampa Bay last month. No decision was announced. … INF Hernandez leads the NL with 123 strikeouts. Reds - 1B Casey is hitting .571 (8-for-14) with a home run against D’Amico. … OF Dunn is 5-for-38 with no home runs and one RBI over the last 12 games. … 2B D’Angelo Jimenez has hit safely in each of his first 13 games with the Reds.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pirates - 23-24 on the road; Reds - 22-28 at home.
INJURIES: Pirates - INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL. Reds - OF Kearns (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Wily Mo Pena (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Sullivan (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Gabe White (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL.