It was a short night for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ross Ohlendorf. At PNC Park, Ohlendorf’s outing Friday night lasted all of four pitches — on a mound that previously served as home. This time, though, it wasn’t so kind.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Sean Rodriguez led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a game-winning home run on a 2-1 fastball to secure the 3-2 victory over the Reds (44-64). Pittsburgh is now 54-53 on the season.
The homer was Rodriguez’s 11th of the season, and he’s now one homer away from tying his 2014 career-high. The deep shot came after Tony Watson blew his first home save since being named closer.
In the top of the ninth, with a 2-1 lead, Watson gave up a lead-off walk to Eugenio Suarez, who advanced to second base on a Tucker Barnhart sac bunt. Ramon Cabrera was the next batter up, and Suarez stole third base during Cabrera’s at-bat. This proved crucial as Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly tying the game.
Jameson Taillon (3.29 ERA) started on the hill for the Pirates, and he only allowed one run on six hits in six innings. Taillon exhibited control throughout his start, limiting his walk total to one while striking out six and inducing eight ground ball outs.
Taillon’s lone blemish occurred in the first inning when he allowed consecutive singles to Zack Cozart and Joey Votto. With two outs and facing a 1-2 count, Brandon Phillips singled on a two-seam fastball to score a run.
Taillon settled in after that, sending down eight consecutive Reds.
And while Taillon was shutting down Cincinnati, Pittsburgh was trying to make its presence known on the scoreboard.
The Pirates finally made progress on that front in the fifth inning.
David Freese led off the inning with a walk, and John Jaso hit a ball that was initially ruled a catch. Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton was battling the wall while attempting to make a leaping and juggling catch. The Pirates challenged the play, and the call was overturned giving Jaso a double and putting Freese at third base.
Francisco Cervelli quickly put Pittsburgh on the board and tied the game up at 1-1 when he hit a sacrifice fly on the first pitch.
Jordy Mercer broke the tie on a suicide squeeze that scored Jaso.
The Pirates went to the bullpen in the seventh inning, and Felipe Rivero struck out two batters and threw nine of his 13 pitches for strikes to earn his 18th hold in the seventh inning.
Neftali Feliz came in for the eighth inning, and the reliever struggled with his control (he walked Votto and Phillips), but a mound visit from pitching coach Ray Searage helped Feliz strike out Scott Schebler to end the scoring threat. Feliz earned his 24th hold of the season, which puts him at third in the National League.
This was a big win for Pittsburgh. A loss would have put the Pirates below .500 for the first time since Jul. 2.
Saturday, Ivan Nova (7-6, 4.90 ERA this season with the New York Yankees) will make his Pirates debut against the Reds’ Homer Bailey (1-0, 3.18 ERA). Nova is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two career starts against the Reds.
Image credit: AP