Pirates Vs. Reds: Bucs Pull Off Weird 7-6 Win

Jeff Karstens fills in for Ross Ohlendorf Sunday.

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Pirates Vs. Reds: Andrew McCutchen Leads Pirates To Strange Win

The Pirates won 7-6 against the Cincinnati Reds in what proved to be a very strange game. The Bucs opened the game with back-to-back homers by Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata, and they took a 4-0 lead later in the inning while Reds starter Edinson Volquez struggled with his control.

Pirates starter Jeff Karstens, meanwhile, inexplicably racked up strikeouts with mediocre stuff, but a solo homer by Jonny Gomes in the second, an RBI single by Paul Janish in the fourth and an ugly fifth inning drove Karstens from the game with the Reds taking a 5-4 lead.

The Bucs added two runs in the sixth on a homer by Garrett Jones and an RBI double by John Bowker, but Jose Veras allowed a homer by Jay Bruce in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at six.

The Pirates retook the lead in the eighth despite some terrible decisions by Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno decided to bunt with men on first and third and got the lead runner called out at the plate (although replays showed that he should have been safe). He then tried to get from first to third on what should have been a simple go-head RBI single by Andrew McCutchen with two outs, and nearly got tagged out, potentially canceling out the run. In the bottom of the eighth, however, Cedeno bailed out Evan Meek with a diving catch and a toss to Neil Walker to double a runner off second. Joel Hanrahan finished out the save in the ninth despite having serious problems finding the strike zone.

McCutchen went 3-for-3 with two walks and a homer in the game.

For more on the game, check out the recap at Bucs Dugout.

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Pirates Vs. Reds: Reds Put Together Rally, Cut Lead To Two

Jeff Karstens was, improbably, cruising through the first few innings, striking out five batters in his first 3.2 innings, largely by challenging them with a very mediocre fastball that they didn’t appear to see coming. But he ran into some trouble in the fourth after punching out the first two batters – Neil Walker couldn’t come up with a ball struck by Jay Bruce, and then Ramon Hernandez and Paul Janish also singled, bringing home a run. (Andrew McCutchen was charged with an error on the play, allowing Hernandez and Janish to move up to second and third.)

That brought up pitcher Edinson Volquez, who fortunately made the third out. I might have considered pinch-hitting for Volquez if I were Reds manager Dusty Baker, given that Volquez had already thrown 82 pitches, but I can see why Baker didn’t – Volquez has settled in nicely since a very rough first inning.

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Pirates Vs. Reds: Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata Hit Back-To-Back Homers As Bucs Build 4-0 Lead

Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez has struggled with first innings so far this year, and Sunday’s start proved to be no exception, as the Pirates scored four runs. First, Andrew McCutchen hit an opposite-field homer to lead off the game, and then Jose Tabata came up and hit a homer to almost exactly the same place. (Really - the announcers noted that the two home run balls might have hit the very same seat.)

Lyle Overbay then walked, and then Neil Walker hit a double to deep center. The struggling Pedro Alvarez couldn’t capitalize, as he struck out, looking at a third strike right in the zone. But Garrett Jones walked, and so did Chris Snyder, bringing in a run. Ronny Cedeno then hit a deep fly ball for a sacrifice, and Volquez was finally able to retire pitcher Jeff Karstens to end the inning. The Pirates build a nice lead against a wild pitcher, and they’ll get to start with the top of their lineup in the second inning.

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Pirates Vs. Reds: Jeff Karstens Makes Spot Start

The Pirates play the third game of their series against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday at 1:10 PM.

The series is split, 1-1, with each team winning a blowout so far. The Pirates lost Saturday's game 11-2, thanks to the Reds' four home runs. Sunday's game will represent a challenge - the Bucs' starter is Jeff Karstens, who is currently in the rotation because of Ross Ohlendorf's injury. Karstens has allowed 50 home runs in 345 career innings, and that could spell trouble against a Reds team that's very capable of hitting them.

The Reds' starter will be Edinson Volquez, who is making his fourth start of the season. Volquez has been very wild so far this year, with eight walks in his last two starts, and the Pirates will need to look for ways to take advantage.

The game will be broadcast on Root Sports. The series will continue with a finale Monday night.

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