April 7, 2006

Game 3: Pirates 5, Reds 6

The Reds extended the losing streak of the Pirates to 4 with a 5-6 victory before a tiny, tiny crowd in a soggy Great American Ball Park yesterday.

Brandon Claussen took the mound and went five innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits. He struck out five and set a good example for the relievers by walking none, though his did plunk three.

Mike Burns took over in the sixth and held the Pirates scoreless on two hits through his inning. Rick White worked the seventh and eighth and gave up two earned runs on two hits to tie up the game. The offense chose his shift to get the lead back, so he also ended up with the undeserved win. David Weathers was a bad-ass in the ninth and struck out two of the three he faced to finish off the Buccos for the deserved save.

The Reds got the scoring started right away in the bottom of the first when Felipe Lopez doubled and Ken Griffey Jr knocked him in with a ground ball single. Score 0-1.

They struck again in the second after Scott Hatteberg and Javier Valentín singled. Claussen laid down the sacrifice bunt to get the runners on second and third, and Tony Womack knocked them in with a single to center field. The Reds would go on to load up the bases with two outs, just in time for Adam Dunn to strike out. It's OK, though, he'd be the star later. Score: 0-3.

One freaking swing of the bat in the top of the fourth tied the game up when Joe Randa hit a home run to left field to score Sean Casey (who got on when a pitch hit him) and Jason Bay (who got on when he hit a pitch). Claussen hit his third batter of the night in Ryan Doumit before striking out Duffy and stranding two Pirates runners. Score: 3-3.

Little Edwin Encarnación knocked in Hatteberg in the fifth to regain the lead. Score 3-4. Dunn hit his second home run of the season, a monster right between the power stacks, in the sixth to add some insurance. The ball reportedly hit a car on Mehring Way, the occupant of which hopped out, picked up the ball, and drove away. No kidding. Score: 3-5.

Another stupid swing of the bat in the top of the eighth tied the score again when Doumit hit a home run to right field after Jose Castillo singled to right field. Score: 5-5.

In the bottom of the eighth, Chris Denorfia pinch hit for the pitcher, and boy did he look good. He's had two pinch hits this season, and he's impressed in both. This time it was a single to left field. After Womack struck out failing to get down the bunt, Lopez singled to right. Griffey popped out.

And then the biggest story of the night: the contested call in center field. Dunn came up with Denorfia and Lopez on base and two outs. But instead of striking out, Dunn lofted one to center field. Duffy ran like Hell and made a slide for it, but the ball hit the ground before bouncing into his mitt. Unfortunately, instead of getting up and throwing the damn ball in, he sold the play as a catch and the ump initially bought it.

Every single other person in the stadium, heck, in the world, knew this was not a catch. The crowd was raging, Jerry Narron was on the field, the Reds were actually hopping mad. The umps conferred and finally did overturn the play, requiring Lopez to go back to third, apparently where he was on his way to when the bad call was made. You can guess my opinion on that crap.

Anyway, after Jim Tracy was ejected for getting a little too hopping mad himself, Rich Aurilia grounded out to strand two and end the threat. But that was OK because, as I mentioned before, Weathers was a bad-ass in the ninth to end the game. Score: 5-6.

The win brings the Reds' record to 2-1. Tonight they take on the Pirates again in Great American at 7:10 p.m. Eric Milton takes on Paul Maholm for the Pirates.

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