Reds 6, Pirates 5
CINCINNATI (AP)—Freddy Sanchez didn’t have a choice, and he didn’t have a chance.
Cincinnati’s Jason Romano was on third base and Ryan Freel was on first with one out in the bottom of the ninth of a 5-5 game between the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. Felipe Lopez then hit a broken-bat chopper at the drawn-in Sanchez. The shortstop had to deal with the barrel of the bat, which grazed his left wrist as he fielded the ball.
Sanchez’s throw to catcher David Ross was too late to get Romano, who slid across the plate to give the Reds a 6-5 victory.
“I’m fine,” Sanchez said before he left to get stitches to close a cut on his wrist. “I’m kind of bummed that we didn’t get the out. I wanted to field it with my glove hand to make a good throw. I saw the bat, and I saw the ball. I just put the game ahead of everything.”
The Reds have won four of their last five games.
“I feel for him, but that’s a pretty good job of staying with the ball,” said Lopez, who was credited with an RBI.
Pittsburgh, which tied the game 5-5 with two runs in the top of the ninth, has lost seven of 10.
Romano, who entered the game during a double-switch in the ninth, doubled off reliever Mike Gonzalez (0-1) with one out and moved to third on Freel’s infield single.
“I was going on contact,” Romano said. “If the ball was hit to the third baseman or pitcher, I could hold up. It was my read. I saw the bat fly, and then I saw the ball trickle out there. When I saw that, I knew I could make it.”
Ryan Wagner (2-1) got the win after missing out on his first career save. He started the ninth with a 5-3 lead, but Jose Castillo led off with a single and Sanchez followed with a double to give the Pirates runners at second and third with no outs. Ross hit a grounder to Freel at second base to score Castillo, and Sanchez scored from second on Freel’s throwing error.
Ross was awarded second on the error, and pinch-hitter Jack Wilson sacrificed him to third before Wagner got Matt Lawton to hit into a harmless groundout and struck out Ty Wigginton to preserve the tie.
“You’ve got to let go whatever happened,” Wagner said. “At that point, nobody’s coming in for you. The game is in your hands.”
“You try to minimize the damage,” Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said. “If you don’t, you’re facing (Pittsburgh closer Jose) Mesa, and you always try as hard as you can to not face the other team’s closer.”
Cincinnati starter Ramon Ortiz, who was knocked out of his last start on Sunday with swelling under his left eye after getting hit by a comebacker, bounced back by going 6 1-3 innings. Ortiz gave up 10 hits and three runs.
The Reds fell behind 3-0 in the fourth on Rob Mackowiak’s three-run homer before coming back against Pittsburgh starter Josh Fogg, who was 6-1 in nine starts against Cincinnati entering the game. Fogg allowed eight hits and five runs.
Fogg had allowed one baserunner—on an error—until Lopez led off the fourth with a double. After a passed ball, Ken Griffey Jr. lined an RBI single to right.
Javier Valentin of the Reds led off the fifth with his first homer since Sept. 22. Valentin’s homer bounced off the top of the fence and into the Pittsburgh bullpen down the right-field line.
Adam Dunn hit Fogg’s first pitch of the sixth inning into the Reds’ bullpen in left-center field to make it 3-3. It was his league-leading 14th home run. Joe Randa and Jacob Cruz followed with consecutive doubles to give the Reds the lead and knock Fogg out of the game.
Valentin greeted reliever John Grabow with a run-scoring single.
Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon believed the game never should have come down to Lopez’s chopper. The Pirates went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
“Several things went against us,” he said. “We had opportunities. We should’ve blown the game wide open.”
Randa returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with a sore left foot. … Fogg’s start was the 100th of his 5-year career. … Lawton’s steal of second in the third inning snapped Pittsburgh’s streak of 15 consecutive games without a stolen base. … Lopez extended his season-high hitting streak to nine games, one game short of matching the career high he set last August. … Dunn’s homer was the 50th of his career at Great American Ball Park. All 12 of his RBIs at home have come on home runs.