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Pirates 5, Reds 3

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Third baseman Pedro Alvarez homered and drove in five runs, and starter Brandon Cumpton allowed one earned run over five innings to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday afternoon, securing a split of the four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Alvarez hit a solo home run off Reds starter Homer Bailey to tie the game in the sixth in front of a sold out crowd of 40,929. Then, with the bases loaded in the seventh, he broke the game open with a bases-clearing double off lefty Tony Cingrani to put Pittsburgh (43-30) ahead for good.

Jay Bruce hit his 15th home run for Cincinnati (44-30), which has lost six of 10 games this season against Pittsburgh.

Alfredo Simon (5-3) took the loss. Bryan Morris (4-2) got the victory.

With closer Jason Grilli unavailable after pitching in Wednesday night's 13-inning loss, Tony Watson earned his second save of the season with two perfect innings.

The Pirates (43-30) left 14 runners on base in Wednesday's marathon, and it looked like their struggles would continue Thursday when Starling Marte opened the game with a double, but was stranded. Alvarez would later provide all the clutch hitting the Bucs would need.

Cincinnati scored first in the opening inning when Shin-Soo Choo reached on a throwing error by Alvarez, stole second and scored on Joey Votto's hit. The Pirates tied the score in the third on Garrett Jones' two-out RBI.

Bruce put the Reds back on top in the fourth with a 415-foot homer to center on a 3-2 pitch from Cumpton, making the score 2-1.

Cumpton allowed two runs -- one earned -- on five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Alvarez answered Bruce with his 16th homer, a solo shot off Bailey leading off the sixth to tie the score at 2. Bailey allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in six innings.

NOTES: Bruce has homered in five of his past seven games. ... Alvarez homered for the sixth time in June, second-most in the NL. ... Pirates' right-handed pitcher Bryan Morris singled in the seventh for his first major-league hit. ... The Pirates added an arm to their depleted bullpen by recalling RHP Duke Welker from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioning OF Alex Presley to Triple-A. ... Bucs relievers Jason Grilli, Vin Mazzaro, Justin Wilson, and Mark Melancon were unavailable to pitch Thursday after working in Wednesday's 13-inning loss. ... Reds 3B Todd Frazier, a New Jersey native, changed his walk-up music from Frank Sinatra to the theme song from "The Sopranos," in memory of actor James Gandolfini, who passed away Thursday. ... Scoring change: Russell Martin's infield single in the third inning of Wednesday's game, which caromed off pitcher Bronson Arroyo's glove and was ruled an error, was changed to a hit. Martin was also credited with a hit and RBI, while Arroyo gives up the hit and an earned run.
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