Reds 8, Pirates 2, 1st game; Pirates 5, Reds 4, 2nd game
PITTSBURGH (AP)—The Pittsburgh Pirates delivered when it counted most for a change.
Freddie Sanchez singled over a drawn-in infield to score Craig Wilson with the winning run, and the Pirates scored twice in the ninth inning to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 Friday night and earn a doubleheader split.
“We’ve been outhitting our opponents most of the time. Tonight, we got the big hits in the second game, and that’s the one thing that’s been eluding us the whole season,” shortstop Jack Wilson said.
Cincinnati first baseman Sean Casey sustained a concussion after a collision with Humberto Cota in the first game, in which Felipe Lopez went 5-for-5, stole two bases and drove in two runs to help the Reds hand rookie Zach Duke his first major league loss, 8-2.
Jack Wilson began the ninth with a single off David Weathers (7-3) and Craig Wilson walked. Jason Bay followed with a single to center, scoring Jack Wilson to tie the game, with Craig Wilson and Bay advancing on Chris Denorfia’s error on the throw home.
Weathers then intentionally walked Ryan Doumit to load the bases for Sanchez.
“That’s the perfect situation you want: You have your two, three and four hitters coming up, and hopefully you can get someone on and let those guys have a chance to get the big hit,” said Jack Wilson, who went 3-for-4.
“Any time a team (rallies) like that, it always seems to be a big deal,” Pittsburgh interim manager Pete Mackanin said. “But for us especially, because we’ve got our backs against the wall. Nobody expects us to do much.”
Salomon Torres (5-5) pitched one inning for the victory as Pittsburgh rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the fourth.
“The momentum of the game, I liked it,” Torres said. “Because even though we were losing, it was coming in our favor. The guys never stopped fighting.”
Reds starter Ramon Ortiz allowed two runs in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.
“We did so many things wrong that we didn’t deserve to win that game,” interim manager Jerry Narron said. “I don’t even know how we were in it. But you’re going to have innings like that. They’ve got some good hitters.”
Said Weathers: “I just didn’t make any good pitches. I got behind guys, walked guys. You do that, you’re not going to have any success. I just blew the game.”
The Pirates made it 2-1 in the third when Tike Redman doubled and scored on Jack Wilson’s single. Cincinnati increased the lead to 4-1 in the fourth when Valentin singled and scored when Ray Olmedo snapped an 0-for-28 slump with a single. Ryan Freel added an RBI groundout.
Bay doubled and scored on a single by Daryle Ward in the fourth.
The second game was delayed 33 minutes by rain.
Casey, a Pittsburgh native, was taken from the field on a stretcher after being accidentally struck under the right eye by the forearm of Cota at first base in the seventh inning. The Reds said during the nightcap that a CT scan at a Pittsburgh hospital was normal, and Casey was experiencing a headache and neck soreness.
“Maybe I care about these guys too much, but I sure don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Narron said. “He’s got a lot of family here. I know we had guys on the field trying to get to them, to tell them he was OK. It’s got to be scary to see your son put on a stretcher and taken off, not really knowing.”
Lopez capped his first career five-hit game with an RBI single in the ninth. Kearns added a three-run homer off Jose Mesa in the ninth.
Duke (6-1), making his first start since spraining his left ankle Aug. 23, allowed one run and five hits over four innings. He struck out four and walked two. He was attempting to become the first major league starter to begin his career 7-0 since San Francisco’s Noah Lowry won his last six decisions in 2004 and his first this season.
“He threw 74 pitches and hadn’t pitched in a while, so we just decided to be careful with it,” Mackanin said. “He looked very good for a guy who hasn’t pitched in three weeks.”
Brandon Claussen (10-9) allowed one run in seven innings. He allowed six hits, struck out six and walked two.
The doubleheader was made necessary by an Aug. 29 rainout … Lopez is the first Reds player to get five hits in a game since Casey did so in New York against the Mets on May 18 … Freel’s third-inning single in the first game snapped an 0-for-12 slump … The Reds have lost only two of their last 11 road series … Kearns rejoined the Reds after missing two games for the birth of his son … Pittsburgh started an eight-game homestand.