Ramon Hernandez highlighted a seven run fifth inning with a grand slam as Cincinnati returned the beating by winning 11-2. The pitch Hernandez drove over the fence was the last toss from Pirates starter James McDonald.
The Reds drew first blood as Jonny Gomes hit a solo homer off McDonald in the second. Joey Votto’s two out RBI single in the third plated Drew Stubbs, who had doubled, and made it 2-0.
Pittsburgh tied it up in the third when Mike Leake got wild. He walked Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez to start the inning. Ryan Doumit singled to load the bases. Garrett Jones walked, forcing in a run. Ronny Cedeno lofted a sac fly that tied the score. But Leake fanned McDonald to end the inning.
The fateful fifth started poorly. Alvarez committed an error on a ball from Miguel Cairo. Votto singled to right, pushing Cairo to third. Votto promptly stole second. Jay Bruce was intentionally walked to get to Juan Francisco. He came through with a tie-breaking single that scored one and kept the bases juiced. Hernandez followed with the grand slam into the left field seats. Michael Crotta relieved and one out later gave up a single to Leake. Drew Stubbs followed with a two run homer. Suddenly it was 9-2.
Joe Beimel made his 2011 debut and took a few hitters to get going. Joey Votto missed a dinger by thismuch as his drive bounced high off the fence in dead centerfield. He cruised in with a stand up triple. Gomes followed with his second bomb of the day before Beimel retired the next three hitters, including a pair of strikeouts.
Leake went six innings and gave up two runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out six. McDonald went 4-1/3 and gave up seven earned runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out two. Jordan Smith, Bill Bray and Nick Masset each tossed a scoreless inning to close out the game.
Doumit and Jones each had two hits.
The Pirates drew seven walks, second most on the year.
The pitching was rough. Among the five pitchers used, only Chris Resop didn’t have much trouble.
Hernandez has six career grand slams. His last one came as an Oriole in 2007 off Scott Elarton of the Royals.
This was the seventh multi-homer game for Gomes in his career. The last was 6-12-10 off Kansas City’s Brian Bannister.
Leake made three starts against the Pirates in 2010 without a win. So, this was his first career W against the Pirates.
Collectively the Reds had just twelve plate appearances against McDonald before this contest.
The 2010 Pirates were 7-7 after 14 games.