LaRoche ends slump in Pirates 6-5 win over Reds
CINCINNATI (AP)—Adam LaRoche didn’t need much to snap his slump.
The Pittsburgh first baseman was hitless in 16 straight at bats before coming up with a pair of soft RBI singles to lead the Pirates to a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
“I wasn’t aware that I was 0-for-16,” LaRoche said. “I’ve been 0-for-16 before, but I had no idea. Both of the hits I got traveled about 100 feet total.”
With the score tied at 4 in the eighth inning, Nate McLouth led off with a single off of Cincinnati left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (1-1). McLouth stole second and continued to third when Affeldt’s throw got past first baseman Joey Votto for a throwing error. Ryan Doumit walked and moved to second on a wild pitch, and LaRoche drove in McLouth with a soft single to right.
“If you’re playing a close ballgame, especially a one-run game, you can’t make those mistakes,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We missed a hit-and-run sign. Lincoln was 0-2 on Andy LaRoche and got one up. We threw the ball away. Those things hurt you.”
Adam LaRoche actually gave Pittsburgh the lead twice in the span of three innings after starting the game 0-for-2. He followed Doumit’s sixth-inning, RBI single off of Cincinnati starter Edinson Volquez—which tied the score at 3— with a broken-bat single to short right field that drove in McLouth with the go-ahead run.
“It was outstanding to score some runs off a pretty tough pitcher,” Adam LaRoche said. “He can throw all three of pitches for strikes, so you can’t sit on anything.”
“He’s a threat in our lineup,” manager John Russell said. “Those weren’t the hardest-hit balls, but that’s all it takes, sometimes.”
Volquez had a perfect game with five strikeouts before Nyjer Morgan led off the fourth inning with a ground-rule double to center field. Freddy Sanchez and Doumit followed with doubles to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.
Ross Ohlendorf, a former New York Yankees reliever making his first career start, retired the first eight batters he faced before Volquez solidly lined a single to center field. Votto got the Reds on the board with a solo homer in the fourth, his 16th homer of the season and first in 39 at bats since Aug. 21. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a walk. Encarnacion moved to third on Jay Bruce’s double to right field and scored the game-tying run on a passed ball.
The Reds took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on Chris Dickerson’s sixth homer of the season. After Pittsburgh regained the lead in the sixth, Encarnacion tied it with a single to left.
Ohlendorf, acquired with three other players from the Yankees on July 26 when Pittsburgh traded outfielder Xavier Nady and left-hander Damaso Marte, lasted six innings, allowing three earned runs with one walk and two strikeouts.
“I was happy with it,” Ohlendorf said. “I’m glad the team won, but the thing is, when our offense scored against a pretty tough pitcher, I gave the runs right back.”
“I really liked his aggressiveness,” Russell said. “I also liked his ability to slow the ball down. He used both sides of the plate. I was excited to see him pitch.”
Volquez went seven innings, giving up six hits and four runs with one walk and 13 strikeouts, a career high and the most by a Reds pitcher in one game this season.
SS Jack Wilson remains sidelined with a bruised right index finger he suffered while fielding a ball in Sunday’s loss to Milwaukee. His return is indefinite. “We want to make sure it doesn’t get infected,” Russell said. … Sanchez returned to the starting lineup after missing Tuesday’s start when the right shoulder problem that’s plagued him all season flared up. “He had an MRI Tuesday,” Russell said. “We’ll monitor him. If it gets ouchy, we’ll sit him a couple of days. He had a good August (.318 in 25 games), and I know he’d like to carry that through to the end of the season.” … Cincinnati’s Wilkin Castillo recorded his first major league hit with a pinch-hit single to right to lead off the seventh inning.