Well, what can you say? Everything went the Reds’ way tonight. Wandy Rodriguez pitched very well, and the Pirates had a few opportunities to score, but just couldn’t take advantage. It was a pretty frustrating game until the top of the ninth, when Andrew McCutchen got hit with a 101 MPH fastball.
The Reds struck first in the third inning with two outs. Chris Heisey hit a high flyball to LF, and Starling Marte couldn’t make the leaping catch. The ball ricocheted off the wall and rolled into left-center field, but Cutch was nowhere to be found. It took a few seconds before anyone got to the ball, and Heisey went for the inside-the-the-park home run. It was clear that he was out at the plate, with Barajas doing a great job to apply the tag and block the plate, but the umpire called him safe. Really not Wandy’s fault at all. This could have been a harmless two-out triple, but it resulted in a run. The only other mistake Rodriguez made was a two-out two-run homer to his mound opponent, Mat Latos, in the fifth. Latos is a big guy, and he took a big hack, hard to fault Wandy. Other than the two home runs, Rodriguez was solid. He went seven innings, while striking out four and giving up seven hits.
The Bucs just couldn’t get anything going. They managed just four hits off of Latos, and grounded into three double plays. The biggest DP came in the eighth, when there were runners on first and second. Jonathan Broxton came in to face the pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez, who was the tying run. He bounced into an inning-ending double play, effectively ending the game with Aroldis Chapman coming in. He got two easy outs in the ninth, and drilled Cutch on the first pitch. It was pretty clear this was intentional, as the pitch was going straight for Andrew’s head if he hadn’t turned out of the way. But Cutch, being the team leader, didn’t flinch, and dropped his bat to walk to first. He stared down Chapman, and was as angry as you’ll ever see him after the game. ROOT caught him in the dugout screaming “F*** THEM!” five times as the team headed for the clubhouse. It should be an interesting game tomorrow.
The Reds take a 4.5 game lead over the Pirates in the division.
Pirates (60-45) – Reds (65-41)
Win: Latos (10-3)
Loss: Rodriguez (7-10)
Save: Chapman (24)