McCutchen’s HRs lift Pirates past Reds in 11
Gregory Polanco helped save it with his arm.
McCutchen hit a game-tying leadoff home run in the ninth inning and a go-ahead
solo shot in the 11th on Saturday night to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 6-5
win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Polanco played a key role, too, throwing a runner out at home plate to help
Pittsburgh escape a jam in the 10th inning.
The Pirates bounced back from a 6-5 loss in the series opener on Friday to win
for only the second time in their last six games.
McCutchen’s home run in the ninth came off Jonathan Broxton. The 11th-inning
blast, his 17th of the season, came on J.J Hoover’s first-pitch 83 mph slider,
which the reigning NL MNP cracked just over the wall in left.
Jeanmar Gomez pitched the bottom of the 11th for Pittsburgh, earning his first
career save after sweating out long drives to the warning track by Zack Cozart
and Kristopher Negron.
All five Cincinnati runs came in the sixth inning on homers by Todd Frazier
and Chris Heisey.
Reds starter Mike Leake was in line for his fifth win in his last six starts
before McCutchen’s blast in the ninth. Leake went six innings, giving up four
runs on nine hits and three walks.
Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton also pitched six innings, allowing five runs on
six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
McCutchen’s ninth-inning homer was the first given up this season by Broxton.
It came on Broxton’s sixth pitch, a 95 mph fastball McCutchen launched over
the center-field wall.
The Reds stranded runners on first and second in the ninth when Tony Watson
struck out pinch-hitter Neftali Soto and got Billy Hamilton on a pop-up.
They had runners at first and second with nobody out in the 10th after Ernesto
Frieri issued consecutive walks to Ramon Santiago and Frazier.
But Polanco threw out Santiago on Jay Bruce’s single off Justin Wilson (3-1)
— catcher Russell Martin nicely handled a short hop before spinning to apply
the tag — and Wilson struck out Ryan Ludwick and Brayan Pena.
The Reds had just three hits in the first five innings before the blasts by
Heisey and Frazier gave them a 5-4 lead in the sixth.
Heisey, hitting for Leake, sent his third homer of the season just over the
wall in left to score Cozart. Hamilton then singled, Santiago walked and
Frazier launched a three-run shot to center for his 18th homer of the season.
Earlier, Martin hit sacrifice flies in the first and third innings to give the
Pirates a 2-0 lead. The first came with the bases loaded. The second scored
McCutchen, who had doubled and moved up to third on a groundout.
Gaby Sanchez and Jordy Mercer hit consecutive singles in the fourth to spark a
two-run rally for Pittsburgh. Both runners moved up on Morton’s sacrifice bunt
and Sanchez scored on Leake’s errant pickoff attempt. Polanco drove in Mercer
with a single to make it 4-0.
Hoover (1-7) worked two innings … Reds closer Aroldis Chapman had pitched in
the last four games. He struck out the side Friday, setting a major-league
record with at least one strikeout in 40 straight appearances … Cincinnati
recalled Soto from Louisville on Saturday to bolster its injury-depleted
infield and optioned right-handed reliever Curtis Partch to the Triple-A team.