The Pittsburgh Pirates have rebounded from their worst losing streak of the season with three straight wins over the slumping Cincinnati Reds and will go for the sweep in the series finale at Great American Ball Park on Monday.
The Pirates (22-27) entered this series on a five-game losing streak, but have scored 33 runs while batting .342 in winning the first three games, their longest run since a five-game winning streak from April 22-27.
Pittsburgh hasn’t won more than three in a row against the Reds since a five-game win streak against them from June 26-July 25, 2004. It last swept a four-game series in Cincinnati from July 11-14, 1991.
Jason Bay hit his seventh home run of the season in the Pirates’ 14-10 win on Sunday, their fifth win in nine meetings with the Reds this year.
Bay finished with three hits, three runs scored and three RBIs, and is 8-for-12 in the series, lifting his batting average from .278 to .303. He is a .377 career hitter against the Reds and has 13 home runs in 34 games at Great American Ball Park.
The Pirates will turn to Ian Snell (4-3, 3.06 ERA) to try to finish off the sweep. On Wednesday, Snell was reached for four runs in six innings in a 5-3 defeat at St. Louis.
Snell, though, hasn’t given up more than four runs in any of his 10 starts this season.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA in four career starts against the Reds, including a win on April 27, when he held Cincinnati to six hits in seven scoreless innings in the Pirates’ 3-1 victory.
The Reds have lost a season-high six straight games. Cincinnati (18-33) owns the worst record in baseball and has dropped 20 of its last 25 games.
During their losing streak, the Reds have allowed at least 11 hits in each game, while also surrendering at least eight runs in five contests. Their team ERA has risen to 4.82.
“We did a great job offensively. We just need to get good pitching at the start of the game,” said manager Jerry Narron, whose team has been outscored 9-0 in the first innings of the last two games.
Reds starter Kyle Lohse (1-6, 5.31) has lost his last six starts, the longest losing streak of his seven-year career.
Lohse was 1-0 with a 1.91 ERA through four starts, but has given up at least five earned runs in four of his last six outings. In his last three starts, the right-hander has given up 20 runs - 17 earned - in just 10 innings.
He hopes to bounce back against a Pittsburgh team that struggled against him last year. In two appearances - one start - against the Pirates, Lohse went 1-0 while allowing only one run and striking out nine in 9 2-3 innings.