The Cincinnati Reds were able to rally against Mark Melancon and the Pirates on Friday in Pittsburgh, but Jason Grilli made sure there was no repeat as the Reds fell 4-2 on Saturday.
Homer Bailey (11-11) and A.J. Burnett (9-11) battled back and forth through the first five innings, but two costly errors handed Bailey his 11th loss of the season.
Cincinnati (88-67) jumped on Burnett right away when Ryan Ludwick singled home Brandon Phillips, but Burnett stopped the threat by getting Jay Bruce to hit into an inning ending double play. Zack Cozart made it a 2-0 game when he launched his 12th homer of the season to lead off the second inning.
Pittsburgh (89-66) was able to get right back into the game thanks to an error by Joey Votto. Votto fumbled the exchange on a routine ground ball to allow Pedro Alvarez to reach with two outs. On the very next pitcher Russell Martin homered to tie the game at two.
Bailey only allowed three hits, but walked four over 5.2 innings. He was finally chased in the sixth when an error of his own proved costly. After walking the speedy Andrew McCutchen, Bailey wanted to make sure he could not get a huge lead, but threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt allowing McCutchen to scamper to third. Marlon Byrd scored McCutchen two hitters later on an sac fly to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Alvarez built on that with an RBI single off Zach Duke that scored Justin Morneau.
J.J. Hoover, Alfredo Simon, and Sean Marshall were able to keep the Pirates off the board, but Burnett was busy striking out a season high 12. Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson held the Reds to a scoreless eighth to bring on Grilli. He came on and worked around a single by Ludwick to earn his 31st save and first since July 21 (also against Cincinnati).
With the win the Pirates move a game up on the Reds for the wild card and are two back of the Cardinals (91-64) for first place. The Reds are now three behind the Cardinals, who won in Milwaukee on Saturday. Cincinnati remains 4.5 games ahead of Washington who will play a double header against Miami on Sunday after a rainout on Saturday.
Bronson Arroyo (13-11) will try to take the series on Sunday and close out the Pirates final regular season home game with a loss. Jeff Locke (10-6) will try to regain his All-Star form and continue his winning ways against Cincinnati (2-0, 1.00 ERA in 3 starts).