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Thursday July 31 2014
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Reds pitchers shut down Pirates

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Reds pitchers induced the Pirates to hit into three double-plays and Cincinnati used an inside-the-park homerun and a two-run shot by pitcher Mat Latos to take the first game over the Pirates 3-0.

In the Pirates' most anticipated series following the All-Star break, Pittsburgh fell 3-0 to the first-place Cincinnati Reds in the first of three games this weekend.

Zack Cozart went 3-for-4 for the Reds to lead their offense while starting pitcher Mat Latos held the Pirates to three hits over seven innings. For the Pirates, recently acquired Wandy Rodriguez gave up seven hits and struck out three in seven innings.

The Reds jumped ahead early in the second when Chris Hesley scored on an inside-the-park homerun on a fly ball to left center, falling just beyond the glove of a leaping Starling Marte, making the score 1-0.

The Pirates threatened in the top of the fifth when Neil Walker walked to lead off the inning. Pedro Alvarez reached with a fielder's choice to second, with Walker getting forced out at second base. With one on and one out, Rod Barajas walked to put runners on first and second. Clint Barmes then grounded into a double play to put the Pirates offense to rest going into the bottom of the inning.

Cincinnati scored again in the bottom of the fifth when Ryan Hanigan hit a line drive to left field. Latos came up with a two-run shot over the left field fence to put the Reds up 3-0.

Both teams went quietly with three-up-three-down innings through the sixth and the seventh until the Pirates came close to crossing the plate once again in the eighth. Alvarez led off with a single to Drew Stubbs in center and reached second on a deep fly ball, also to center, from McKenry. Gaby Sanchez then grounded into another double play for the Reds, keeping the Buccos scoreless through 8 ½.

After another quick inning for the Buccos’ defense in the bottom of the eighth to end the Reds’ offense for the night, the Pirates has one last shot in the top of the ninth. After two quick outs, Andrew McCutchen was hit in the shoulder with a 101 mph fastball from Reds’ hurler Aroldis Chapman to take first. Garrett Jones went down swinging to end the game.

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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