Reds deal reeling Pirates 5th consecutive defeat
CINCINNATI — The Pirates are free-falling out of the playoff race because they are losing games — and they're wasting opportunities.
They are wasting opportunities because they cannot do the fundamentals — run, hit, pitch.
At this point, the trail of excuses veers in all directions. Lack of experience. Lack of talent. Lack of luck. Lack of execution. Lack of concentration.
A little bit of all of those were on display Tuesday in the Pirates' 5-3 letdown against the Cincinnati Reds.
“Another tough one,” Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata said. “We just can't seem to get over that hump.”
The Pirates' five-game losing streak is their longest since they dropped five in a row April 10-14. Back then, there was plenty of time to recover. Now, the Pirates have no chance to win the NL Central and their hopes of claiming the second NL wild-card spot are fading.
Six weeks ago, the Pirates were 16 games over .500 and seemed poised to snap their streak of 19 losing seasons. To do that, they'll need to win 10 of their final 21 games.
“The way we've gotten here, it feels like we're in a bad position,” Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia said. “But we're still in a good spot, if we can get on a roll again. It can turn around in one game.”
In the first inning, Alex Presley ripped a line-drive homer to left field off right-hander Mike Leake (8-9).
The lead didn't last long. Reds leadoff batter Brandon Phillips blasted the first pitch from Correia (10-9) into the left field seats for his 17th homer.
Dioner Navarro walked to start the second. With one out, Leake slapped a single past third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who was playing in to guard against a bunt.
Phillips hit a ground ball double that was deflected by shortstop Clint Barmes. Navarro scored.
Correia's 1-1 curveball to Drew Stubbs bounced away in the dirt. Catcher Michael McKenry tried to flip the ball to Correia at the plate, but it caromed off Leake as he slid home and rolled toward the Reds' dugout. Phillips scored on the error.
Barmes doubled to start the fifth inning. Correia tried to bunt him to third but instead popped up to catcher Navarro.
Second baseman Brock Holt's flashy batting stats at Triple-A Indianapolis earned him a September call-up. But he remains a work in progress in the field, evidenced by slow pivots the past two nights that morphed wanna-be double plays into one-out fielder's choices.
The rookie has some lessons to learn on the basepaths, too. With Barmes still at second, Holt singled to shallow right field. Barmes wisely held up at third base, but Holt made a wide turn at first and was tagged out.
“It's an awareness play,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It's a hard-hit ball; you should know they've got a Gold Glove outfielder (Jay Bruce) with a strong arm.”
What could've been a first-and-third, one-out scoring chance evaporated. Presley grounded out to end the inning.
Gaby Sanchez hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh. Scott Rolen added a long solo homer in the eighth off Pirates rookie Kyle McPherson.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7811.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cole shuts down Diamondbacks as Pirates open road trip with victory
- Pirates look to continue success in cross-country trips
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen unfazed by return to Arizona
- Gameday: Pirates at Diamondbacks, April 25, 2015
- Super-agent Boras says Pirates will have opportunity to re-sign Alvarez, Cole
- Pirates notebook: Marte, McCutchen out of starting lineup in series finale
- Cubs’ 3-run, 9th-inning rally upends Pirates
- Polanco, bullpen come up clutch as Pirates capture win over Cubs
- Biertempfel: Low turnover helps keep Pirates’ chemistry intact
- Cole overcomes rough start as Pirates sweep Brewers
- Gameday: Pirates at Diamondbacks, April 24, 2015