Neil Walker collected three of the Pirates ten singles and drove in a pair. Pittsburgh pulled ahead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh off of Aroldis Chapman to win 5-3.
The Reds jumped in front first. Charlie Morton gave up a single to Brandon Phillips to start the game. He moved to second on a Freddie Lewis ground ball out and Joey Votto singled him home.
Morton continued to battle each inning. After a Drew Stubbs single in the second, Ramon Hernandez hit into a double play (with Walker making a nifty grab, tag and throw on the play). Lewis was caught stealing to end the third inning. Joey Votto walked leading off the fourth but Morton picked him off.
Pittsburgh tied it up in the fourth against Dontrelle Willis. Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Ludwick both singled. But Walker’s bunt attempt was popped up and caught by Willis. He retired Brandon Wood for the second out and it appeared that Pittsburgh would come away empty handed. Ronny Cedeno came up big with the RBI grounder into left. The throw home was not cut off. McCutchen was safe easily and Ludwick and Cedeno both moved up a base. Willis gave an intentional free pass to Michael McKenry to face Morton. The Bucs pitcher grounded out to end the inning.
The Pirates went up in the next inning. Jose Tabata singled and Garrett Jones was plunked. Walker and Ludwick hit consecutive RBI singles to make it 3-1.
The Reds got one back in the home half of the sixth. Phillips, Lewis and Votto hit three straight singles to score one run and put runners on first and second. Morton got Jay Bruce to hit into a double play and retired Miguel Cairo to end the inning.
Morton was pulled after six in favor of Chris Resop. He got into trouble immediately. He gave up an lead of single to Stubbs. Hernandez banged one off the wall in right that scored Stubbs and evened the score at three each. Tony Watson – recently brought up – was summoned. He Paul Janish’s popped up sac bunt attempt. Ryan Hanigan grounded out in a pinch hitting appearance for Willis. Phillips was walked intentionally to get to Edgar Renteria. He flew out harmlessly to McCutchen in center to end the inning.
Aroldis Chapman was brought in for the seventh. With one out, McCutchen singled and Ludwick walked. Walker dropped a blooper into shallow right to break the tie. Wood followed with his own excuse me hit down the rightfield line. It went for a double and score another run, pushing the Pirates in front 5-3. In between giving up two runs, Chapman struck out the side.
Jose Veras pitched the eighth and put the first two men on. He struck out two of the next three to prevent any damage. Joel Hanrahan piched a perfect ninth for the save.
Willis gave up eight singles and three walks in six innings. He was charged with three runs. He struck out five. Morton also went six. He gave up two runs on seven singles and a walk. He struck out two. Tony Watson was the winner in relief. Chapman picked up the loss. Hanrahan’s save was his 31st on the year.
Congrats to Watson on his first career Big League win.
Walker had three hits and drove in two. McCutchen and Ludwick each had two hits.
Bucs struck out ten times.
Resop couldn’t hold the lead for Morton.
Morton remains 4-4 against the Reds. He had been 3-0 with two complete games in 2011. Willis is still 2-6 against Pittsburgh.
One more save for Hanrahan will give him the third best single season save mark in team history behind Mike Williams (46 in 2002) and Jose Mesa (43 in 2004).
Bucs are 59-65 through 124 games in 2011. They were 41-83 at the same point in 2010. In 2009 the were 52-72.
Both Walker and McCutchen have a chance at collecting 170 hits this year. No Pirate hitters has had that many since Freddy Sanchez rapped 183 hits in 2007.