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Friday August 1 2014
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Pirates best Reds in 10 innings

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Clint Barmes and Michael McKenry opened the 10th with back-to-back doubles and the Pirates beat the Reds 5-4 in an extremely well-played game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, taking the series and heading home 2 games back of first-place.

Aroldis Chapman had pitched 29 innings without allowing a run, but a Michael McKenry double changed that and gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The three hour and seven minute game was very much a back and forth affair, from right fielder Jose Tabata’s first-inning throw to prevent Joey Votto from scoring the first run of the game, to Chris Resop picking up his first save of the season and second of his major league career by striking out Ryan Ludwick in the bottom of the 10th.

The Reds struck first when Jay Bruce hit his 13th homerun of the season off of starter Kevin Correia.

The score remained 1-0 Cincinnati until the fourth inning, when Neil Walker hit a double to plate Alex Presley, and Garrett Jones hit a sacrifice fly to score Walker, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

Ryan Ludwick continued to torture his ex-teammates with his seventh homer of the season in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game. In the next half inning, Jones hit an opposite field single to put the Pirates back in the lead.

The Reds opened the bottom of the sixth inning with three consecutive singles, scoring a run and forcing Correia out of the game. Jared Hughes came in with runners at first and third with no outs, only to set down all three Reds batters he faced without allowing a run to cross the plate.

In the top of the seventh, Tabata legged out an infield single. Clint Barmes sacrificed him over to second base, however Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips had a rare defensive lapse and took his eye off of Tabata, who advanced to third base and scored on a McKenry sacrifice fly.

Juan Cruz came into pitch and used 19 pitches to get two outs before Tony Watson got the last out, a strikeout of Votto.

The score remained 4-3 in favor of the Pirates until the bottom of the ninth inning. Ludwick led off the inning with his second homer of the game, hitting Joel Hanrahan’s first pitch into the second deck of left field. The blown save was Hanrahan’s second of the season.

The game would go to extra innings and Chapman first faced Barmes who fouled off six pitches before hitting a 91 mile per hour slider into right centerfield to get a double. McKenry followed with a double off of Chapman to knock in what would be the game winning run.

Chris Resop was the lone reliever in the Pirates' bullpen, and he had to battle after allowed a lead-off double to Votto. With two outs and runners at first and second, Resop struck out Ludwick to end the game.

The win meant that the Pirates were 4-2 on their road trip and took series against N.L. Central foes Milwaukee and Cincinnati. The Pirates are now two games back of the Reds.

On Deck:
The home Interleague schedule opens with three games against the 24-31 Royals who are in fourth place in the American League Central. The Royals will send Luke Hochevar (3-6 6.63 ERA). Erik Bedard (3-6 3.72 ERA) will be the Pirates starter. Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur is 3-4 lifetime against Bedard with a homer and three RBI.

I was in a minor league press box in Charlotte, NC, last month, taking in one of Gregory Polanco’s final triple-A games. A colleague, upon learning I was from Pittsburgh, approached me with a question.
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