The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to win their second game of the three game series against the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds and climb back within two games of the division lead in extra innings tonight. Winning last night and sweeping the series would have put the Pirates in first place, tied with the Reds, they could have been able to stay atop the division, as the Reds are taking on the 26-31 Detroit Tigers in their next series, whereas the Pirates play the 24-31 Baltimore Orioles.
Alex Presley was able to spark the offense tonight, going two for five with a double. Clint Barmes was able to raise his batting average to .191 while solving the problem of Aroldis Chapman, as he hit a leadoff double against him in the tenth inning – it was the first hit off of Chapman since May 17th. Michael McKenry, making a rare start, was able to drive in the first run against Chapman this season, hitting a double into the right-center field gap to allow Barmes to score, which turned out to be the winning run for the Bucs. The Pirates, who have the second-lowest base-on-balls percentage in the Majors, were unable to draw a walk tonight.
Jose Tabata played an important role in the Pirates’ victory tonight, advancing to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Michael McKenry which was designed to get him to second base. Tabata did a pop-up slide at second base and noticed Brandon Phillips, who was covering first base, was facing away from the play. He ran to third base and was nearly tagged out when he overslid the bag, but caught it by his fingertips. He scored after Michael McKenry hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
Kevin Correia was not the road warrior he was last season. In five full innings, Correia allowed three earned runs on eight hits and one walk. Perhaps the most damning statistic for Correia is the two home runs he gave up, to Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick in the second and fifth innings. Jared Hughes and his never-closing mouth were brought in for relief in the sixth inning, and Hughes didn’t allow a run and struck out one. Juan Cruz and Tony Watson were brought in to pitch the seventh, and they pitched a scoreless inning. Jason Grilli earned his 14th save of the season in the eighth, striking out one and not allowing a run. Joel Hanrahan struggled in the ninth, allowing a home run to Pirate killer Ryan Ludwick, his second of the game. After that, however, Hanrahan did not allow another hit or run. Hanrahan got the win after Chris Resop saved the game after allowing a leadoff double to Joey Votto. Resop then got Brandon Phillips to ground out to short, so Votto could not advance, then intentionally walked Jay Bruce before Todd Frazier popped out to Mike McKenry. Ryan Ludwick struck out to end the game.