Tony Watson has had a rather consistent career as a relief pitcher, that is unless the Cincinnati Reds are the opponent.
This was the case again Friday as the Pittsburgh Pirates were bested by these same Reds, 4-3.
Jose Peraza was responsible for bringing home what proved to be the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly that brought Eugenio Suarez back to the Reds dugout with several high fives immediately following.
This was set up by Suarez’s lead-off single, a Ramon Cabrera sacrifice bunt and a Tyler Holt single.
It is safe to say that Brandon Phillips and Jared Hughes have history with each other and their paths crossed again in the sixth inning of this game.
Hughes hit Phillips with a pitch during a Sept. 2012 meeting between the two teams. Phillips initially took exception to the Pirates reliever because of something which was said. The issue ended up being resolved the next day.
There was no issue between the two in this game, rather it was Phillips welcoming Hughes to this contest with a sixth inning lead-off home run that went into the left field seats.
Phillips now has 10 home runs this season and four of them have been hit against these same Pirates. He also had a stretch from May 5-7 in which four home runs came off the bat versus the Milwaukee Brewers, meaning eight of his 10 home runs have come against the National League Central.
For Steven Brault, the Pirates starter in this game, his narrative was one which has proven true through his stints with the team.
Brault was able to make it through five innings for a second consecutive start but was pulled after that benchmark with 76 pitches. Brault still has pitched six innings on one occasion in what is now five starts.
Brault’s miscues were a third inning Joey Votto RBI single and mound opponent Tim Adleman also hit an RBI single in the fourth.
The Pirates countered those two solo runs with a Josh Harrison RBI double in the third inning and Josh Bell hit an RBI ground out in the fifth inning.
For a while, it looked as though Phillips home run would hold as the winning tally, but back-to-back singles by Harrison and pinch-hitter John Jaso to lead off the bottom half of the eighth inning changed that.
Andrew McCutchen did hit a sacrifice fly that tied that game but the Pirates were threatening for more as Gregory Polanco singled, loading the bases with one out for Jung Ho Kang, who had arguably been swinging the hottest bat on the team as of late.
That was not the case in this particular at-bat as Kang grounded into an inning-ending double play.
These two teams will once again face off Saturday as Drew Hutchison (1-0, 4.97 ERA in Toronto) takes on Robert Stephenson (2-1, 3.12 ERA).
Photo credit: @Pirates