The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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June 18, 2014

Ninth-inning homer carries Reds over Pirates

Pittsburgh — Todd Frazier led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking homer, lifting Cincinnati to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night after the Reds’ bullpen blew a three-run lead.

Frazier’s team-leading 16th home run to center field came off closer Jason Grilli (0-2) and gave the Reds their fifth win in six games. Cincinnati (34-35) also got within one game of .500 on its ninth try.

Billy Hamilton had three hits and two stolen bases for the Reds, while Joey Votto had two hits and three RBIs. Frazier, Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick added two hits apiece.

Hamilton is 8-for-13 in his past three games. Cincinnati is 5-2 and averaging 5.3 runs per game since Votto was activated from the disabled list after missing three weeks with a quadriceps strain.

Logan Ondrusek (2-2) got four outs for the win. Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save, getting Clint Barmes to fly out to the left-field fence with two runners on to end the game.

Josh Harrison matched a career high with four hits for the Pirates. He drove in two runs.

Starling Marte, Ike Davis and Jordy Mercer added two hits apiece.

Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak to 12 games but came up short of becoming the first Pittsburgh player to have multiple hits in nine straight games since Rennie Stennett in 1971. Gregory Polanco became the first Pirates player to have a hit in each of the first seven games of his career since Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente in 1955.

The Pirates used a three-run seventh inning to tie the score at 5 on RBI singles by Davis, Russell Martin and Harrison.

Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto’s hard luck continued as he gave up two runs in six innings of no-decision.

Cueto scattered seven hits and four walks, but the bullpen failed to hold a three-run lead for him. Despite a sparkling 1.92 ERA, Cueto is 6-5 through 15 starts.

In two starts against the Pirates in April, he allowed one run and six hits in 18 innings.

Pittsburgh’s Brandon Cumpton gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings after winning his previous two starts.

Hamilton helped the Reds open the scoring in the first when he chopped a double into left field, stole third base and scored on a single by Votto.

Hamilton and Frazier hit consecutive singles to start the seventh and scored on another single by Votto as Cincinnati opened a 5-2 lead.

Cincinnati went ahead 3-2 in the fifth as Ludwick hit an RBI single, and Brayan Pena’s grounder scored Jay Bruce, who had doubled.

Pittsburgh got single runs in the second and third to move in front 2-1. Harrison hit an RBI double off the center-field fence in the second, and Martin drew a bases-loaded walk an inning later.

NOTES: Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker took batting practice and fielded grounders before the game for the first time since undergoing an appendectomy June 9. He is optimistic he will be ready to be activated from the disabled list June 24, the first day he is eligible. ... Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano is scheduled to play catch Thursday for the first time since sustaining a strained left oblique June 10 and going on the DL. . Phillips’ string of 43 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout, the longest active streak in the majors, ended when he fanned in the seventh. . Cincinnati RHP Alfredo Simon (9-3, 2.95 ERA) will oppose Pirates RHP Edinson Volquez (4-5 3.89) on Wednesday night.

 

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