Alfredo Simon became the first National League pitcher to ten wins while the Reds rocked former Opening Day Starter Edinson Volquez in an 11-4 route of the Pirates at PNC Park on Wednesday.
"The Big Pasta" went 6.1 innings while allowing three runs on five hits with five strikeouts. A rain delay and 111 pitches prevented Simon (10-3) from going any farther as the Reds (35-35) had already built up an insurmountable lead by the third inning. Volquez (4-6) was off his game allowing eight runs on just six hits in 2.1 innings.
The scoring started in the second when the Reds played small ball as Skip Schumaker scored Jay Bruce on a sacrifice fly. The third inning featured a wide variety of scoring that started with a wild pitch that allowed Todd Frazier to score. That's when the wheels came off for Volquez as he allowed an RBI double to Brandon Phillips, then walked Bruce and hit Devin Mesoraco. That led to a carousel on the base paths as Schumaker, Zack Cozart, and even Simon each singled in a run on consecutive at bats.
The Simon RBI single was a bit controversial as Stolmy Pimentel, on in relief of Volquez, made a fine play to get a soft ground ball hit to his right and then fired home for what was originally called an out on a force play. Reds manager Bryan Price challenged that it was catcher's interference and the Russell Martin did not allow a clear path to home plate. The replay confirmed that Martin was on home plate before Mesoraco scored, but had his foot in front and therefore did not allow a path for Mesoraco to safely score and therefore the run counted. Clint Hurdle took objection to this and was immediately tossed by crew chief Jerry Layne.
Not done yet, the rest of the inherited runners from Volquez came in to score on a two-run double by Billy Hamilton. Pimentel finally rebounded and retired Frazier and Joey Votto to end the big inning. Cincinnati added another in the fourth when Schumaker singled home Mesoraco.
The Pirates (34-37) finally scored off Simon in the fifth, but it was also another iffy call thanks to the new rule in place for home plate plays. Mesoraco tagged Pedro Alvarez out at home thanks to a perfect throw from Hamitlon. Pirates bench coach Jeff Bannister argued that Mesoraco did not allow a clear path and once again a play that was an everyday occurrence was ruled to be interference by the catcher. The RBI single by Gregory Polanco continued his streak of at least one hit in his first eight games since being called up.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases in the seventh, but only got one off Simon before the rains came and delayed the game for over and hour. J.J. Hoover came on and allowed one of the inherited runners to score on a sac fly to make it a 9-3 game. The Reds took advantage of the Pirates decision to leave pinch hitter Travis Snider in to pitch the ninth when Hamilton doubled home Cozart and then Hoover, who drew a walk, came in to score on a ground out by Frazier. Snider, who has never pitched at any level of his pro career, did take advantage of a lefty-lefty match-up and picked up an inning ending strikeout against Votto. The Pirates added a lone run in the bottom half against Hoover to make it an 11-4 final.
The Reds go for the sweep on Thursday with Homer Bailey (7-3) taking on Jeff Locke (0-1). First pitch is set for 12:35 p.m.