Saturday, August 24, 2019
Pablo Reyes hit a game-ending RBI single, driving in pinch-runner Joe Musgrove, and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied to beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Friday night.
Pittsburgh won for just the ninth time in 39 games since the All-Star break by chipping away at Reds closer Raisel Iglesias (2-9).
The Pirates put together three straight singles to start the ninth, the last a flare to shallow center by Adam Frazier that scored pinch-runner Erik Gonzalez. A sacrifice bunt by Jacob Stallings moved Musgrove to third and Reyes sent a drive to the gap in left-center to give Pittsburgh its eighth straight home victory over the Reds.
Felipe Vazquez (4-1) picked up the win by pitching a scoreless top of the ninth.
Cincinnati rookie Aristides Aquino hit his 12th homer of the month and an RBI double in the eighth while going 3 for 4 to boost his batting average to .338.
Aquino’s drive to the first row of seats in center off Mitch Keller leading off the second gave him a dozen homers in 22 games, the fastest player to reach that total in major league history. The 24-year-old Aquino then put Cincinnati in position for its third straight win when he ripped a tiebreaking double to left in the eighth off Keone Kela.
Aquino’s 12 homers since making his 2019 debut on Aug. 1 are two short of the club record for most home runs in a month, trailing the 14 Hall of Famer Frank Robinson hit in August 1962 and Greg Vaughn matched in September 1999.
Keller, Pittsburgh’s top pitching prospect, put together the best start of his young career. The 23-year-old struck out nine in six-plus innings.
Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani was just as solid, permitting one run and five hits in six innings.
Iglesias, however, couldn’t lock down Cincinnati’s first victory in Pittsburgh since June 17, 2018.
Both teams insisted they were ready to move on from their ugly on-field brawl in Cincinnati last month, one that resulted in eight total suspensions spread among six players as well as Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle and Reds counterpart David Bell.
Bell, a vocal critic of the Pirates for what he believes is their penchant for pitching inside a little too aggressively, stressed his club didn’t “have time” to let the feud continue to fester.
“I just feel like it’s not going to happen anymore,” he said.
For a night anyway, Bell was right. When Keller went up and in to Aquino in the sixth, the 6-foot-4 Cincinnati slugger simply leaned back to get out of the way and play continued without incident.
Neither the presence of Reds first baseman Derek Dietrich — who sparked a benches-clearing dustup in Pittsburgh in April after admiring a home run — nor Kela — whose decision to airmail a pitch to Dietrich last month served as the jumping off point for the wild melee in Cincinnati — resulted in anything resembling fireworks.
Dietrich went 0 for 3 in his return from a stint on the injured list due to left shoulder inflammation and missed a chance to face Kela again when Kela left him in the on-deck circle in the top of the eighth.
Reds: Placed OF Jesse Winker on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Monday with a cervical strain in his neck. Bell said Winker had been “going in the wrong direction” recently. ... C Curt Casali (sprained knee) could be activated from the injured list this weekend. Casali hasn’t played since July 15.