The Pittsburgh Pirates opened their series against the NL Central-leading Reds on Tuesday night with an 8-4 win in Cincinnati. The Bucs are now two games over .500 and just two games back of the Reds. A.J. Burnett gave up two early runs in the first inning but the Pittsburgh offense would respond in a big way, chasing Cincy starter Homer Bailey after just three innings.
The Bucs evened things in the top of the second with two quick runs off Bailey. Garrett Jones led of the inning with a single and promptly stole second base. Casey McGehee brought him in with a single to right field. McGehee was wiped out on a Rod Barajas fielder's choice, but Clint Barmes knocked in the slow-footed catcher from first with a double to deep centerfield.
Pittsburgh then blew it open in the third, putting a four-spot on the board. The recently recalled Alex Presley started the inning with a triple. Neil Walker followed him with a two-run shot to to dead center that went 426 feet. A Matt Hague single and two walks set up a bases-loaded opportunity for Barmes, who came through again with a two-run single to push the lead to 6-2.
The Bucs extended it to 8-2 with two solo blasts in the fifth and sixth innings. McGehee continued his big night, crushing one to right. In the sixth, it was Presley again, who had a loud first night in his return to the bigs with a near identical homer to right in the hitter's park along the Ohio River.
Game 2 will be Wednesday night with an opportunity for Pittsburgh to get within a game of first place. Brad Lincoln will be on the hill against Johnny Cueto.
Stick with this StoryStream for more news and updates throughout the Pirates series with the Reds. For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Pirates, visit Bucs Dugout. For the opponent's perspective, there's Red Reporter. And as always, please check out the SB Nation MLB Baseball hub page for more on this and every Major League series.