The Reds handed the Pirates their fifth straight loss before a paid crowd of 16,573 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati tonight. The actual crowd was probably a lot smaller than that, though, as the game didn't get started until 9:35 pm after an extended rain delay.
Eric Milton took the mound for the first time as a Red. The guy who pitched last season was the Evil Eric Milton from Bizarro World. I'm glad that guy's gone. Milton allowed two runs (both earned) on six hits through seven innings.
Todd Coffey gave up one earned run on two hits through the eighth. Chris Hammond received two earned runs on one hit without getting an out when David Weathers allowed his inherited runners to score. Weathers also allowed an earned run of his own on a hit over two-thirds of an inning. Kent Mercker got the last out of the game with a strike-out at about 12:15 am
The Reds took the early lead in the second inning when Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnación took back-to-back walks. Austin Kearns moved the runners over, and David Ross plated Dunn with a ground-out to short. Milton grounded out to end the threat. Score: 0-1.
The good guys added to the lead the very next inning when Ryan Freel led off with a walk and continued around the bases when Felipe Lopez hit a home run to center. Ken Griffey, Jr flied out, and Rich Aurilia grounded out before Dunn walked and Encarnación doubled to put runners on second and third for Kearns. Kearns doubled to right field to score two more. David Ross lined out. Score: 0-5.
The Pirates first scored in the top of the sixth when Nate McLouth doubled and was knocked in two batters later by a Sean Casey home run. Sean Casey, the man who had nine home runs total for the Reds in 2005, has hit two in the first week of the season for the Pirates. Score: 2-5.
Lopez hit his second home run of the game in the seventh. Score: 2-6.
After a quick out in the top of the eighth, Coffey gave up a double to Casey and a single to Jason Bay to set up Jeromy Burnitz to ground out but score Casey. David Ross got the run back for the Reds in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot. Score: 3-7.
In came Chris Hammond in the top of the ninth. He walked Jose Castillo and gave up a single to Ryan Doumit before manager Jerry Narron gave him the hook. Hammond has now given up four runs over two appearances without getting an out. That's what we call an infinite ERA.
David Weathers just made matters worse when he served up a three-run homer to the first batter he faced, Craig Wilson. He struck out McClouth before walking Jose Hernandez and Casey. Jason Bay grounded to third in what should have been an easy double-play: Marty got as far as “This one belongs to th…” before he had to announce the runner was safe at first when Aurilia's throw pull Scott Hatteberg off the base.
That was enough for Weathers, and Kent Mercker came in to face the final batter of the game, and struck Bernitz out swinging.
The win brings the Reds' record to 3-1 and their winning streak to three. Tomorrow they host the Pirates at 1:15 pm. Aaron Harang takes on Oliver Perez for the Pirates.