Seven run rally, homers, hurt Bucs in 11-2 loss
The Cincinnati Reds rallied to score seven runs off the Pirates pitching staff in the 5th inning in the 11-2 win at Great American Ballpark on Saturday afternoon.
Miguel Cairo reached base on an error by third baseman Pedro Alvarez in the 5th inning, and that’s when right-hander James McDonald ran into trouble. Joey Votto singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. McDonald got Jonny Gomes to strike out swinging and intentionally walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with one out.
After getting behind in the count, 3-1, Juan Francisco hit a single to right field to score Cairo. McDonald left a fastball up over the heart of the plate and Ramon Hernandez hit it into the second deck in left field for a grand slam.
James McDonald told Root Sports, “I didn’t throw the ball well. Bad game.”
“I think I was missing over the plate too much today, gave them good pitches to hit. “
McDonald was pulled from the game in the 5th after throwing 90 pitches. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Manager Clint Hurdle told Root Sports, “I saw him throw six of the cleanest innings you ever want to throw for 5 2/3′s the last time out. So, it’s there. I think this is part of the growth that you are going to see from time to time at the major league level. [When] you leave balls elevated in the big leagues, up in the strike zone, more often than not, they end up in the seats. Or there is damage done, and that’s what happened today.”
So what exactly does McDonald need to work on to bounce back for his next start against the Florida Marlins?
McDonald told Root Sports, “First things first is getting past [my] last outing, refresh your mind and get ready and get prepared for the next start. So that starts tomorrow. I’ll go look at film, start looking at the other things the next team is doing, prepare myself for that game. I think the biggest thing I need to do is focus on my next outing and leave this one there.”
The trouble for the pirates pitching staff didn’t end there. Rookie Mike Crotta came in for relief and allowed a two-run homer to Drew Stubs to give the Reds a 9-2 lead. Crotta’s homer was the first the Bucs bullpen has given up this season. They were one of just two teams in the majors to not allow a home run. A total of seven runs scored and 10 batters came to the plate in the 5th.
Two more runs scored in the 6th inning. Lefty Joe Beimel made his first appearance with the Pirates since 2003 and he allowed Joey Votto to hit a leadoff triple. Jonny Gomes hit a two-run home run — his second of the day, and the fourth homer allowed by the Bucs pitching staff.
Coming off of a great pitching performance by Charlie Morton the night before, James McDonald wasn’t aggressive from the get-go. His only 1-2-3 inning was in the first inning.
McDonald allowed Jonny Gomes to hit a solo homer to left in the 2nd inning to give the Reds a early 1-0 lead. He allowed at least two hits in each of the next four innings before being chased in the 5th after allowing seven runs (six earned).
The Pirates tacked on two runs in the 4th inning. Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez drew back-to-back walks and Ryan Doumit singled to load the bases. Garrett Jones drew a walk, which scored Walker and Ronny Cedeno hit a sac fly to tie the game at 2.
Mike Leake improved to 2-0 on the season. He allowed two runs on four hits over six innings with four walks.
Nine runs scored combined in the 5th and 6th innings. It marked the first road loss by a Pirates starter this season. The Pirates drop to 6-8 on the season and 5-3 on the road.