McDonald’s velocity was quite low throughout the game, but when he kept the ball low in the zone, he was reasonably effective. The problem was two gigantic mistake pitches to Jonny Gomes and Ramon Hernandez, both of which wound up in the outfield seats. Hernandez’s came with the bases loaded, thanks in part to an error by Pedro Alvarez.
It got worse. Mike Crotta relieved McDonald and allowed a homer of his own, this one to Drew Stubbs, as the Reds went up 9-2. Then Joe Beimel made his 2011 season debut and allowed extra-base hits to the first two batters he faced on a triple by Joey Votto and another homer by Gomes.
The Pirates’ offense did at least wrangle five walks out of Mike Leake and the Reds’ bullpen, but that was about it. This was a nasty blowout loss for a team that has had its share of blowout losses recently.