Pirates beat reporter Rob Biertempfel's inside look at Friday's game:
• After throwing successful side sessions Monday and Wednesday, Reds LHP Tony Cingrani expects to be cleared to pitch out of the bullpen this weekend against the Pirates. Cingrani has been out since Sept. 10 due to lower back soreness. Cingrani is 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 23 games (18 starts). He is averaging 10.32 strikeouts per nine innings.
• Reds RHP Homer Bailey turned 27 years old May 3, but he already has 142 starts in the majors. He is 49-44 with a 4.23 ERA and owns two no-hitters. Bailey ranks among NL leaders in strikeouts (196, tied for seventh) and has set a single-season career high. He is four whiffs shy of becoming the 11th player in Reds history with 200 in a season. The last Cincy pitcher to do it was Edinson Volquez, who fanned 206 batters in 2008.
For their final theme dress road trip of the season, the Pirates players and coaches were decked out in football jerseys on the plane rides to Chicago and Cincinnati. There were plenty of Steelers jerseys — Clint Hurdle donned a Jack Lambert model; Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker honored Troy Polamalu; and Pedro Alvarez and coach Rick Sofield wore New York Giants tops. The Atlanta Falcons (Tony Sanchez) and Seattle Seahawks (Travis Snider) also were represented.
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