Momentum with another series win?
There was a lot of stress from some folks, it seemed, after the Reds bullpen blew the game for a 6-5 walk-off loss in the series opener vs. the Pirates. Then the Reds went and broke off three-straight wins to take the series.
Tuesday — complete game by Johnny Cueto, Reds win 4-1.
Wednesday — Alfredo Simon pitches 6 2/3 strong innings, Reds pressure Pirates with running game and get 5-2 win.
Thursday — Tony Cingrani hangs in there for six innings, bullpen does the job for a 2-1 win.
“Certainly a great series, especially after losing the first game and coming back and playing three really good games,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We had to battle. They pitched us tough like they always do. … Somehow we found away to grind out three victories here. I’m really proud of the boys.”
After being 3-8 on April 12, the Reds are now 11-11 after winning seven of the last nine. They are at .500 for the first time since the second game of the season. That’s also three series wins in a row.
Items of note:
*Cingrani threw 32 pitches in the first inning, including 11 before walking Neil Walker. But he stayed with it and threw 103 for the game. 6 ip, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
*It was the first time in 23 starts that Cingrani allowed more than five hits.
*Logan Ondrusek, who struggled in his last two outings, turned in a scoreless seventh after a Neil Walker two-out single to right field.
“Another silver lining moment for this game as well was Logan Ondrusek coming in and just doing his job there in the seventh inning,” Price said. “Especially, having to face McCutchen, a guy who has hit him in the past. Logan came up big time today.”
McCutchen grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice against Ondrusek. Entering the at-bat, he was 4-for-8 with two home runs against him.
“Just a fastball away,” Ondrusek said. “He’s had success against me before when I made mistakes. Today it was keeping the ball down and if he put it in play, get it on the ground somewhere. … You’ve got to face guys and can’t be afraid of anyone. You have to go after them and do the best you can.”
*Sam LeCure faced three batters in the eighth inning and struck out the side. Two were on called strike threes. LeCure threw 11 pitches, nine for strikes.
*In the last two wins, the Reds bullpen has 5 2/3 scoreless innings of work.
*Billy Hamilton was caught stealing for the third time this season. Hamilton was pinch-running for Ryan Ludwick in the ninth when catcher Chris Stewart called for a pitch out from Mark Melancon.
*Devin Mesoraco’s career-high hitting streak ended at 11 games when he was 0-for-4.
*The Pirates are now 3-11 in their last 14 games.