The Pirates and Reds played through a pair of rain delays. In the end, it was delayed gratification for Pirate fans as Joel Hanrahan gave up two runs in the ninth to blow a rare save opportunity.
Pittsburgh jumped out early. Jose Tabata singled to start it off against Mike Leake. Andrew McCutchen poked a two run dinger to left to put the Pirates up 2-0. Leake would get to work, retiring 14 of the next 15 Pirate hitters.
That gave the Reds a chance to get it going against James McDonald. They stutter stepped early on, bouncing into a pair of double plays. But in the sixth, Brandon Phillips doubled with one gone. Freddie Lewis walked. Joey Votto did what he always does – drove in runs. This time it was three as he popped one just above the Heinz Ketchup bottle in center.
Leake gave the lead back up in the sixth. Tabata tripled and scored when Garrett Jones drilled a down and in pitch well over the wall in right to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead.
Jason Grilli and Jose Veras eached worked a scoreless inning to hand it over to Hanrahan, who was working for the sixth time in the last seven games. Todd Frazier singled. One out later Ryan Hanigan walked. Pinch hitter Ramon Hernandez singled just past a diving Ronny Cedeno. Frazier came in to tie the score. Miguel Cairo singled to load the bases. Brandon Phillips hit a grounder that scored pinch runner Dave Sappelt with the go ahead run as Cairo effectively slid into second and Phillips hustled down the line to prevent a double play.
Pittsburgh almost tied it in the ninth. Francisco Cordero was on and he gave up a lead off single to Ryan Doumit. But pinch runner Josh Harrison was caught stealing. That was made especially unfortunate as Neil Walker doubled. Cordero retired Xavier Paul and Brandon Wood to end it.
Leake went six frames and gave up four runs and five hits, with one walk and five strikeouts. McDonald gave up three runs on just three hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out five. Arredondo was the winner with two scoreless innings. Coredero picked up his 26th save on the year. Hanrahan suffered his second loss of the series.
No gripes about McDonald. I’ll take that 32 times a year.
Tabata had two hits and scored twice.
Blowing a lead in the ninth.
Only getting seven hits and one walk.
Wood was 0-4 with three whiffs.
Despite a 2.01 ERA in five career starts, Leake came into the game with a 1-2 mark against the Pirates. McDonald came into the game with a 3- record against the Redlegs. He was 2-1 in three starts in 2011. The Reds came into the game hitting a collective .333 against McDonald with Jay Bruce and Ramon Hernandez having hit homers off of him.
Bucs fall back to a season worst seven games under .500.
Votto drove in seven runs and hit two homers in the three game set.
Cordero seems to get a lot of grief from Reds fans as he seemingly pitches out of self-created jams. Yet of all pitchers with 20 saves in 2011, he has the sixth best WHIP. Hanrahan has the second best behind Kyle Farnsworth. Last year was a different story as Cordero had the third worst WHIP amongst relievers who picked up 20 saves. The two players worse than him in 2010 – Matt Lindstrom and Jonathan Broxton – aren’t closing this year.