CINCINNATI (AP)—After losing their first six games of the season by a combined 10 runs, the Pittsburgh Pirates found out how to win a close game.
“We played well enough on this road trip to win some of those games,” said Tracy, who took over in Pittsburgh after five seasons as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. “We still have to address some of those little things that kept us from winning, but we were right in every game.”
Victor Santos (1-1) got his first win for the Pirates, who had not been 0-6 since 1974. He allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out five.
Dave Williams (0-1) lost to his former team in his first start for the Reds since they acquired him in December for first baseman Sean Casey. Williams gave up three runs—two earned—and five hits in six innings.
“It was exciting to get out there and pitch against my old team,” Williams said. “I just felt like this first outing was a building block for the season.”
Pittsburgh’s losing streak was two shy of the franchise record at the start of a season, set in 1955. The Pirates stopped Cincinnati’s four-game winning streak.
Pittsburgh had runners in each of the first four innings but didn’t score the game’s first run until the fifth. Santos reached leading off on third baseman Edwin Encarnacion’s throwing error, and Wilson followed one out later with his first home run of the season. It marked the Pirates’ first lead since they were ahead of Milwaukee 1-0 after four innings on Wednesday.
“Santos put the ball in play and got on base,” Wilson said. “I was looking for a changeup and got it. I was glad to give him a lead with the way he was pitching.”
“Getting the lead changes the way we go about our business,” Tracy said. “You’re not playing catchup—I don’t mean from a run or two, but from four or five, where you have to slug your way out.”
Santos, making his second start for Pittsburgh after being picked from Kansas City in the winter-meeting draft, faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings. He allowed one hit in that stretch, a second-inning leadoff single by Adam Dunn, who was erased in a double play.
“I just kept the ball down on a consistent basis,” Santos said. “They’re a good-hitting team.”
Cincinnati, which failed to homer for the first time this year, scored in the sixth on consecutive doubles by pinch-hitter Brandon Phillips and Tony Womack. Felipe Lopez followed with a one-hopper that got past third baseman Joe Randa for a single, but Wilson hustled over from shortstop to retrieve the ball in foul territory and threw out Womack at the plate.
“The offense did what they had to do. It just came up a little short,”
Dunn was called out to end the second inning when he rounded second base and then failing to touch it on the way back to first after Duffy caught Scott Hatteberg’s fly ball on the center-field warning track. … Burnitz’s walk with two out in the fourth was the first by a Reds starter in 29 innings, since Aaron Harang walked Chicago’s Michael Barrett in the sixth inning on opening day. … Phillips made his Reds’ debut. He was acquired from Cleveland on Friday.