After a disastrous road trip verse the Brewers and Braves, Pittsburgh faced their third straight losing team. While most of the game was quite anemic, it ended in great fashion as Sean Rodriguez took a 96 MPH fastball to deep left field in the bottom of the 9th to secure a Buccos 3-2 victory.
Rodriguez entered the game in the bottom of the ninth as a pinch hitter for the struggling John Jaso. With no men on and no outs, Ross Ohlendorf through a high middle fast ball with a 2-1 count that ended in disaster for the ex-Pirate. The walk off gave Rodriguez his 11th home run and 33rd RBI on his magnificent year. He sits just 1 away from his career total in home runs (12) and his OPS+ is currently 22 points above his career best.
Jameson Taillon looked every bit the part tonight of a front line starter. He picked up his fifth straight quality start going 6 innings. He allowed just 6 hits and a walk that earned the Reds just one run. Jameson has now lowered his season ERA to a 3.29 and now owns a 129 ERA+. While he did give up just a walk today, it was his first walk issued since June 24th, and his 1.04 BB/9 ranks first among all qualified rookie pitchers. As a matter of fact, it’s a whole .73 points better than the second best rookie pitcher and second best in all of MLB behind only Clayton Kershaw.
As much as Taillon shut down the Reds offense, Anthony DeScalfani did as much to the Pirates. Also lasting 6 innings, DeScalfani allowed only two hits and three walks, but did give up two earned runs. Francisco Cervelli drew a sac fly to drive in David Freese and then Jordy Mercer drew a suicide squeeze to score John Jaso. Though this gave the Buccos a lead, it would be short lived.
In the top of the 9th with Tony Watson pitching, Ramon Cabrera hit a sac fly of his own to score Eugenio Suarez. This allowed the Reds to tie the game at three’s and give them a fighting chance to put Pittsburgh under .500 for the season.
It wasn’t Watson’s better performance. He surrendered a lead off walk to Suarez. With a sac bunt getting him to second, he then stole third to get into scoring position. Though the sac fly was the only damage done during the inning, it was costly.
The other relievers were solid as they bridged the gap from Taillon to Watson scoreless. Felipe Rivero went 1 inning as he struck out two batter. Neftali Feliz then took over pitching a full inning as he struck out one. Feliz did also walk two batters, but was able to escape any major damage.
Pittsburgh totaled just 10 baserunners all game on six hits and four walks and continued to show an underperforming offense. Andrew Mccutcheon did return to the lineup going 0-2, but did draw two walks and even stole a base.