The Pittsburgh Pirates may have won their first series of the season on Saturday, but on Sunday, Chris Heisey hit two home runs including one in the ninth to ensure they wouldn't get the sweep of the Reds at PNC Park with Cincinnati claiming another one run victory in the series, 3-2.
Sunday's contest was the tenth one run game in the series that Reds (66-71) clinched with the victory over the Pirates (71-65). Pittsburgh is 6-4 in those contests, but the Reds hold a 10-6 series advantage over the Bucs with three more to go at the end of the season.
Johnny Cueto (16-8) struggled right out the gate as he allowed a leadoff homer to Josh Harrison on his first pitch. Jordy Mercer followed with another homer in the second inning to put the Pirates up 2-0.It could have been worse had Cueto not caught Starling Marte trying to steal second to empty the bases for Mercer. He would collect himself and toss eight innings of nine hit baseball and had six strikeouts including number 200 on the season.
Francisco Liriano was cruising through the first four innings when a leadoff walk to Ryan Ludwick took a turn for the worst when Heisey hit a two run homer over the left field wall to tie the game at two. Liriano was able to stick around until the seventh when he was pinch hit for. It would be the second straight start in which he turned in a quality start only to have the bullpen lose it. On Aug. 25, Liriano allowed no runs to the Cardinals over six innings, but watched as Jared Hughes allowed three runs to score in the seventh for an eventual 3-2 victory.
It was déjà vu for Liriano as Hughes (6-5) came on in the eighth, but this time he came through the inning unscathed. However, with closer Mark Melancon appearing in back-to-back games, Hughes came back out in the ninth and was two outs away from a six out save when Heisey hit a line drive homer to left to give Cincinnati the lead.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth and struck out two of the three hitters he faced for his 29th save of the season. Chapman will be in need of a new setup man as the Reds traded reliever Jonathan Broxton to the first place Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for two players to be named later.
Cincinnati gets a day off before heading to the leaders of the AL East in Baltimore (79-56). The Orioles will send former Astro Bud Norris (11-8, 4.00 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday to face Mat Latos (5-3, 3.15 ERA). Norris will be looking for his first win against Cincinnati as he is 0-3 against the Reds.