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Jones' blast, bullpen lead Pirates over Reds

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Garrett Jones watches his two-run home run as teammates in the dugout react during the eighth inning against the Reds on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Garrett Jones watches his two-run home run as teammates in the dugout react during the eighth inning against the Reds on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates with Travis Snider after Snider's game-winning hit in the 11th inning against the Reds on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates with Travis Snider after Snider's game-winning hit in the 11th inning against the Reds on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Garrett Jones is greeted by Andrew McCutchen after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Garrett Jones is greeted by Andrew McCutchen after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Russell Martin scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Russell Martin scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates second baseman Neil Walker tags out the Reds' Shin-Soo Choo on a stolen base attempt Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates second baseman Neil Walker tags out the Reds' Shin-Soo Choo on a stolen base attempt Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Russell Martin scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Russell Martin scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates right fielder Alex Presley runs down a fly ball against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates right fielder Alex Presley runs down a fly ball against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates second baseman Neil Walker celebrates with Travis Snider after Snider's game-winning hit in the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates second baseman Neil Walker celebrates with Travis Snider after Snider's game-winning hit in the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage talks with starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez during the first inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage talks with starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez during the first inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Travis Snider drives in the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Travis Snider drives in the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates reliever Justin Wilson pitches during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates reliever Justin Wilson pitches during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Michael McKenry celebrates with Russell Martin as he scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Michael McKenry celebrates with Russell Martin as he scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitcher Jeanmar Gomez talks with catcher Russell Martin after giving up four runs during the first inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitcher Jeanmar Gomez talks with catcher Russell Martin after giving up four runs during the first inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Starling Marte steals second base next to Reds shortstop Zack Cozart Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Starling Marte steals second base next to Reds shortstop Zack Cozart Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez delivers during the first inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez delivers during the first inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Russell Martin scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Russell Martin scores the winning run during the 11th inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez celebrates his solo home run during the second inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez celebrates his solo home run during the second inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates right fielder Travis Snider runs down a fly ball against the Reds on Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates right fielder Travis Snider runs down a fly ball against the Reds on Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Bryan Morris pitches in relief against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Bryan Morris pitches in relief against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitcher Vin Mazzaro throws during the second inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitcher Vin Mazzaro throws during the second inning against the Reds Sunday June 2, 2013, at PNC Park.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013, 5:33 p.m.
 

If Garrett Jones' game-tying, eighth-inning home run does not rouse the Pirates' dormant offense, what will?

Jones became the second player in PNC Park's history to hit a home run that reached the Allegheny River on the fly. Jones hooked a 92-mph pitch from Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton over the right-field seats and into the river Sunday afternoon.

The two-run shot, combined with 10 shutout innings from the Pirates' bullpen, set up Travis Snider's 11th-inning heroics: an RBI single that allowed the Pirates to avoid being swept by the Reds with a 5-4 win.

Thirty-one home runs have bounced, rolled or otherwise traversed the Riverwalk into the Ohio River tributary, but with his soaring, majestic shot Jones joined Daryle Ward — whose home run splashed down on July 6, 2002 — as the only players to reach the river on a fly during the game. Jones' shot had enough elevation to clear the foul pole. It estimated at 463 feet.

“It was an anger-frustration swing,” said Jones of his sixth homer of the year. “I just put everything into the swing. ... It just felt like everything was on time.”

Jones' frustration stemmed from leaving a runner in scoring position during his previous at bat.

But there also was frustration as a team the Pirates had been shut out for 19 straight innings until Pedro Alvarez's solo home run in the second Sunday — the only hit Reds starter Mat Latos allowed in his first five innings of work. Latos allowed two runs over six innings, the other run a sixth-inning RBI single by Andrew McCutchen that scored Alex Presley.

There was the frustration of being an unbalanced team. The Pirates entered ranked 12th in the National League in batting average (.241) and 10th in runs. Run prevention has been mostly responsible for the Pirates' .614 winning percentage (35-22).

If the Pirates' pen was frustrated in being called upon to pick up an entire game's worth of work Sunday, it didn't show.

Starter Jeanmar Gomez left with forearm tightness after one inning, an inning in which he allowed four runs and six batters to reach base.

“It was tight, and it wasn't in a good place,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “You can't push a guy out there when he tells you his elbow's tight and he doesn't think he can pitch.”

Five Pirates relievers combined to allow just five hits over 10 shutout innings. The Pirates' 10 shutout innings of relief was the club's longest such streak since producing 11 23 scoreless innings April 8, 2011, in a 14-inning win over the Colorado Rockies.

The Pirates' bullpen entered the game with the best ERA in baseball (2.67) and third most innings pitched (206), trailing only Houston and Toronto.

“They reset the bar and pushed it up where it's probably never been,” Hurdle said.

“The resolve that the club showed, the bullpen in particular throughout the day, they came off the field, and I tipped my hat to them. It's a believable win. A lot of people say unbelievable, but it's a believable win.”

Vin Mazzrao and Bryan Morris combined for six shutout innings, providing a bridge to the late-inning power arms of Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli and Justin Wilson.

Melancon and Grilli were their usual flawless selves in the eighth and ninth, and Wilson struck out a pair of Reds batters with 96-mph fastballs in the 10th. Wilson also pitched a scoreless 11th to pick up the win after Russell Martin reached on an error and advanced to second on an Alvarez walk. Snider followed with a liner to right off Alfredo Simon for the win.

“The bullpen guys have thrown quite a bit lately, and, obviously, a worst-case scenario for today's game was for Jeanmar to come out of the game early.” Morris said. “My goal was to pitch to contact as early in the count as I could so I could go multiple innings. That's what we needed. ... We gave the offense a chance to come back.”

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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