Reds 7, Pirates 4
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Paul Wilson figured he’d win 10 games this season. He just didn’t think it would take so long.
“Given the lead that we had, I was just trying to get outs with my fastball,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t trying to get into deep counts. And defensively, my guys did a great job for me. That’s who I am and that’s what I’ve got to do to be successful.”
Cincinnati hadn’t had a 10-game winner in two years, but Wilson joined Aaron Harang, who picked up his 10th victory of the season Friday against the Pirates. Wilson won his ninth game on July 8 at Milwaukee, but was 0-4 with a 6.52 ERA in 10 starts since.
“He’s worked hard to get it,” Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said. “We all know how many starts and maybe some opportunities that just didn’t happen for him, but to get two guys on back-to-back days to get two wins, that’s good for them.”
Wilson allowed one run and six hits in seven innings against the Pirates, who have lost five straight and 10 of their last 12. But he still had to hold on until the end when Jack Wilson doubled and Jason Bay walked against closer Joe Valentine with two outs in the ninth. But Valentine fanned Rob Mackowiak on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
Jack Wilson went 4-for-5 and is six hits shy of becoming the first Pirates player with 200 hits since Dave Parker in 1977.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, really,” Jack Wilson said. “It would be nice to get 200 hits, but the only reason I get 200 hits is because I don’t walk. It doesn’t matter how good you do in games you lose.”
Catcher Jason LaRue went 2-for-5 and drove in four runs to set a career-high with 55 RBIs, eclipsing his previous best of 52 set in 2002.
“Obviously, that’s one of the most important stats that a hitter has is RBIs and I take a lot of pride in trying to get as many as I can every single year,” LaRue said. “In years past, I’ve been designated as the 8-hole hitter and this year there’s a lot more times I was hitting sixth or seventh and usually you have more RBI opportunities.”
Two of LaRue’s RBIs came in a five-run first inning against Pittsburgh left-hander Dave Williams. It was the second straight game in which Cincinnati jumped on a Pirates starter in the opening inning. The Reds broke out with seven runs, all earned, Friday against Ryan Vogelsong.
Williams faced 11 batters and threw 43 pitches in the first inning, and allowed five runs—three earned—and seven hits in five innings. He was coming off three solid outings in which he was 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA, but got into trouble almost as soon as he took the mound.
“We’ve gotten a total of seven innings in the last three starts and when the bullpens trying to cover 20 innings, it’s just not going to happen,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We’ve got to find some quality starts from somewhere real quick.”
Pirates reliever Nelson Figueroa gave up a two-run single to LaRue in the sixth to put the Reds ahead 7-1, but the Pirates scored one in the seventh and three in the eighth before Valentine put it away in the ninth.
Pittsburgh outfielder Craig Wilson went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, but established a dubious mark along the way. His two strikeouts against Paul Wilson gave him 165 for the year and broke Donn Clendenon’s single-season Pirates record of 163 set in 1968.
The loss guaranteed the Pirates their fourth straight losing season at PNC Park. They’re 38-41 with only Sunday’s series finale against Cincinnati remaining. … The last time Pittsburgh had a winning record at home was 1999, when the team went 45-36 at Three Rivers Stadium. … Pirates catcher Jason Kendall’s fifth-inning single was the 1,400th hit of his career. … Casey needs one RBI for 100—the first time he’d reach the mark. He had 99 in 1999.