Bad weather halts homer-filled game between Reds, Pirates
CINCINNATI — A bizarre and record-setting major league game beginning Monday will continue Tuesday at the Great American Ball Park.
The Pirates became the third team in major league history to hit three sets of back-to-back home runs in a game, yet the home run derby did not provide a decisive outcome as the score was tied at 7-7 after six innings when the game was suspended because of rain. The top of the seventh inning will resume at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Pirates and Reds combined for 10 home runs, a record at the launching pad that is the Reds' home park. The previous record was nine, produced on May 27, 2012, when the Rockies visited. The night marked the first time at least 10 home runs had been hit in a game since the Tigers and Cubs combined for 11 home runs at Wrigley Field on June 18, 2006. And the Pirates and Reds still have at least three innings to play.
The power was only one part of a bizarre night that also featured a lunar eclipse and a wintry mix in the forecast — Monday's high was 74 degrees — on bring-your-dog-to-the-park night when a pitcher named Homer started for Cincinnati.
“I saw a lot of crazy stuff in Coors Field over the years,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I saw a lot of homers, a lot of weather, and this was as good as any of that jammed into one evening.”
Amid the records and chaos, Gaby Sanchez's two-homer night might go a long way toward gaining more playing time. The National League Central is loaded with right-handed starting pitchers, but Sanchez made only his third start of the season, losing time to Travis Ishikawa.
In the second inning, Neil Walker ripped a 95 mph Homer Bailey pitch two thirds of the way up the right-field bleachers, a 442-foot shot, the second longest home run of his career. Walker hit a 455-foot homer of Mike Pelfrey in 2011. Sanchez followed with a shot to straightaway center to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
In the sixth inning, Walker and Sanchez hit back-to-back homers off J.J. Hoover to give the Pirates a 7-6 lead.
“Nothing was normal about the conditions about the game tonight,” Walker said. “(The infield condition) wasn't good. I think our goal was to try and get through five innings and make the game official.”
The back-to-back homers were part of five lead changes. Starling Marte and Travis Snider accounted for the Pirates other back-to-back home runs in the fifth.
It was the third time in major league history a team had three sets of back-to-back homers, according to STATS. The Reds were the first in 1956, and the Red Sox also accomplished the feat in 1977. On April 27, 1954 Toby Atwel and Jerry Lynch became the only other Pirates to hit back-to-back home runs twice in a game.
The stats count as the game became official and will be completed, but the home runs might not come in a winning effort.
The Pirate led 7-6 in a driving rain in the sixth inning when Bryan Morris came on to relieve an ineffective Wandy Rodriguez.
A scoreless inning might have given the Pirates' a rain-shortened win. Instead Devin Mesoraco tied the score at 7-7 with the game's 10th homer.
The order to cover the field was then made. The fourth, fifth and sixth innings were played in a steady rain while the grounds crew struggled to keep the infielder playable with drying agents.
Rodriguez continued to struggle, allowing three two-run home runs that each allowed the Reds to retake the lead. His ERA climbed to 7.31. Rodriguez allowed one to Todd Frazier in the first, one to Ryan Ludwick in the fourth, and one to Joey Votto in the fifth that gave the Reds a 6-5 lead.
“We're not getting away with mistakes on the mound,” Hurdle said. “Wandy's mistakes haven't been missed to date.”