Reds tame Pirates' hot pitching
Pirates pitchers are stymieing opponents at a historic rate this season. But it doesn't mean much unless Pirates batters come through.
The Cincinnati Reds on Friday made the most of what they got off left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, and the Pirates did next to nothing against righty Johnny Cueto.
A pair of solo homers by Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips were more than enough to lead the Reds past the punchless Pirates, 6-0, at PNC Park.
“We're really good,” Bruce said. “We're a team that's capable of scoring a lot of runs a lot of times.”
The Pirates finished with one hit: a soft single by Brandon Inge.
“Brandon saved us,” said Neil Walker, who went 0 for 3 with a walk.
Pirates pitchers are holding opponents to a .222 batting average. According to STATS, that's the lowest in the National League in the past 100 years. It's the best in the majors since 1968, when the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers all held batters under .220.
Pirates pitchers have held opponents to a .203 average at PNC Park.
That's the second-lowest average among all teams in the past 90 years, trailing only the 1969 Indians, who held foes to a .201 mark at Cleveland Stadium.
Rodriguez (6-3) went seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He served up both home runs, including Bruce's unlikely shot.
“A very professional effort by Wandy,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He gave us what we needed. He kept us in the game.”
Before Friday, Bruce was 2 for 32 (.063) with 16 strikeouts against Rodriguez. Bruce flew out in the second inning, then finally solved Rodriguez in the fourth.
With one out, Bruce hit a fastball over the center-field wall. The ball caromed off a fan sitting in the first row of seats and fell back onto the field, but it easily cleared the fence, and the umpires did not hesitate to signal a home run.
“A 2-0 count, he knew the fastball was coming,” Rodriguez said. “I needed to throw it in a good location. I didn't, and you saw what happened.”
It was Bruce's eighth homer of the season. He's gone deep seven times in his past 20 games.
“I think I'm a better hitter than I've shown against (Rodriguez) in the past,” Bruce said. “He gave me a pitch I could handle.”
The Reds iced it with two runs on two hits in the eighth. Reliever Mike Zagurski hit Phillips with a pitch, then later threw a wild pitch that allowed Phillips to score. Derrick Robinson's single scored Bruce.
Zagurski let in another run in the ninth with three walks, a hit and two more wild pitches. Bryan Morris also walked in a run.
“Adrenaline got the best of (Zagurski),” Hurdle said. “His delivery was kind of quick.”
The Pirates' bullpen was worn down after a couple of 11-inning games in the previous three days against the Detroit Tigers, so Hurdle had to stick with Zagurski for as long as possible. Zagurski threw 57 pitches and got just five outs.
“No excuses. Poor effort,” Zagurski said. “If adrenaline was an issue, I need to find a way to control it.”
In his third start since coming off the disabled list, Cueto held the Pirates hitless for the first 4 1⁄3 innings.
Cueto (3-0) missed nearly five weeks because of a strained right oblique. He went on the DL on April 15, two days after working 4 1⁄3 innings and taking a no-decision against the Pirates.
With one out in the first inning Friday, Cueto walked Walker and hit Andrew McCutchen in the ribs with a pitch. But Cueto escaped that jam and went on to notch 12 straight outs.
Inge broke the spell by blooping a single into left field in the fifth. Inge was a late replacement for third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who was scratched from the lineup with mouth pain after having two wisdom teeth extracted Thursday.
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.
- Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
- Overnight snowfall plagues public transportation, schools, commuters
- 14 more arrested in connection with drug trafficking ring
- Starkey: In defense of Mel Kiper Jr.
- Penguins forwards struggle in loss to Avalanche
- Springdale Twp. police car crashes into veterinary clinic
- Wolf’s Pa. budget plan seen as having almost no chance
- Angry fans cited in shortage of refs in Western Pennsylvania
- Dermatologist led UPMC residency program
- Crosby, Malkin chase scoring title amid defense-minded league
- Ice jam wipes out McKeesport’s marina