The Reds provided the Pirates with their sixth straight loss today with a 9-11 win in Cincinnati.
Opening Day starter Aaron Harang gave a much better show today, getting the win and striking out 10. He worked two batters into the seventh, giving up five runs (all earned) on eight hits. Mike Burns got the final out of he seventh, after allowing two inherited runners to score on a hit. Matt Belise gave up an earned run on a hit in the eighth.
Chris Hammond finally got an out today, in his third appearance. Unfortunately, it came with three earned runs on two hits. His ERA for 2006 is 189. Moving in the right direction!
Rick White took over after that one out to hold the Pirates scoreless on a hit and get the save.
The Reds got it going right away in the bottom of the first. Ryan Freel and Felipe Lopez both singled. Ken Griffey Jr. popped out. While Rich Aurilia was batting, Freel and Lopez pulled off the double-steal just in time for Aurilia to knock a homer to left field. Adam Dunn struck out and Edwin Encarnación popped out. Score: 0-3.
The Pirates came back in the top of the third when Jason Bay doubled and Jose Castillo homered three batters later. Humberto Cota struck out to end the threat. Score 2-3.
The Reds got one of the runs back in the bottom of the third. Freel walked, then stole second while Lopez was batting. Lopez then walked, and both runners advanced when Griffey grounded out to second. Aurilia walked to set up Adam Dunn for his second sacrifice fly of the year. It was a gentle hit to right field, but Freel's a madman and got in just before the throw. Lopez and Aurilia advanced on the throw home, but Encarnación popped out to end the inning. Score: 2-4.
The top of the fourth saw the Pirates score when Jose Castillo singled to knock in Freddy Sanchez with two outs. Cota again stuck out to end the threat. Score: 3-4.
The bottom of the fourth was a big one for the Reds. Kearns led off with a home run to center field. Javier Valentín struck out, but Aaron Harang reached on a fielding error. Freel singled to left and Lopez singled to center to load up the bases. Griffey walked, bringing in a run, getting Harang out from in front of Freel on the basepath, and prompting a pitching change.
Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong didn't have much luck himself. A passed ball while Aurilia was batting allowed Freel to come in (and I bet he was disappointed that it was so easy). Aurilia lined out to the pitcher. Vogelsong then intentionally walked Dunn to load up the bases and face Encarnación. EE stood there dutifully while Vogelsong served up a wild pitch that allowed Lopez to score before grounding out to end the inning. Score: 3-8.
In the top of the seventh, Harang gave up a single to Castillo before striking out both McClouth and Ryan Doumit. But then Chris Duffy doubled and Narron pulled the plug. Mike Burns came in and immediately allowed the two inherited runners to score on a Jack Wilson double to right field. Thankfully, he struck out the next batter, Sean Casey, to end the threat. Score: 5-8.
In the bottom of seven, Encarnación singled and Kearns doubled to set up Valentín to hit a double down the right field line and score the runners. Soon-to-be-sent-down Andy Abad flied out to left on the first pitch he saw, but Freel singled to bring in Valentín. Lopez and Griffey made the final two outs of the inning. Score: 5-11.
The Pirates came up and got one of those runs back in the eighth when Sanchez doubled in Jason Bay. But it was the top of the ninth that about gave me a heart attack. For some reason, Narron put in Chris Hammond who struck out Chris Duffy. Then he walked Jack Wilson and allowed singles to Sean Casey and Jason Bay to load up the bases.
In came Rick White. He struck out Jose Hernandez, but gave up a 2-RBI single to Sanchez. White started to throw over to first, but Aurilia wasn't on the bag and it was a balk. Bay scored. Finally, Castillo grounded out to short and the victory was the Reds'. Score 9-11.
The win brings the Reds' record to 4-1. Tomorrow Dave Williams takes on his former team when the Reds finish the series with the Pirates at 1:15 p.m. Victor Santos goes for the Pirates.