Sunday, April 10, 2016

Suarez paces offense in Iglesias' first win

Right-hander Raisel Iglesias threw 5 1/3 strong innings, Eugenio Suarezhomered and the Reds ended the Pirates' season-opening four-game winning streak with a 5-1 victory Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Iglesias, the Reds' Opening Day starter, worked in and out of trouble all day but limited the damage to one run as he worked into the sixth inning. He gave up eight hits and walked two while striking out five but kept the Pirates off the board until the sixth inning.
"I was trying to keep my pitches down in the zone. I was trying to help the relievers by going deeper in the game, help the bullpen," said Iglesias via translator Julio Morillo. "The defense was amazing today. It helped me a lot. Today was a great game for me and for my defense. It supported me a lot."
Suarez put the game out of reach with a two-run homer to center field in the seventh inning. Reds relievers Blake Wood and Caleb Cotham bridged the gap to J.J. Hoover, who worked a perfect ninth.
The Reds struck quickly against Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, making his 2016 debut. Cole gave up two runs in a 21-pitch first inning. Although Cole settled down as the outing went on, Cincinnati drove up his pitch count and forced him out of the game before he could get through the fifth inning.
"Just try to put your foot down the best you can," Cole said. "If I was a little sharper today, maybe we could've gotten deeper into the ballgame."
One of the Majors' best young pitchers, Cole has struggled to figure out the Reds throughout his young career. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.30 ERA in seven career starts against Cincinnati and 40-16 with a 2.90 ERA against everybody else.
The Pirates didn't provide Cole with much support, finishing the day 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and leaving nine men on base.
Hot start: Four of the first five batters for the Reds reached base, including a leadoff doubleto left field by Billy Hamilton, as they grabbed a 2-0 lead against Cole. Suarez's RBI single scored Hamilton. Joey Votto followed with a single and, after a flyout to center field byBrandon PhillipsJay Bruce delivered an RBI single up the middle on a 3-2 fastball. That would be the last hit the Reds got off Cole until the fifth inning.
Double trouble: The Pirates had two early chances to climb back into the game, but both ended with Jordy Mercer hitting into a double play. The Bucs had runners on the corners with one out in the second, but Mercer hit a hard line drive to begin a 5-3 double play. Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, then Mercer bounced into an inning-ending double play. More >
On the board: Cincinnati native Josh Harrison drove in the Pirates' first run in the fifth inning in front of his hometown fans. Francisco Cervelli started the rally with a two-out single, Gregory Polanco walked and Harrison drove in Cervelli with a single to center. Mercer popped out in foul territory to end the threat after Harrison pulled the Bucs within two runs.
Familiar face: Wood, who was a Pirates farmhand last year, got Iglesias out of a jam in the sixth inning, then was the beneficiary of Votto's good defense in the seventh. Wood walked pinch-hitter Matt Joyce and gave up a double to John Jaso to start the inning. He gotAndrew McCutchen to hit a grounder to Votto, who looked Joyce back to third before stepping on first base. Votto then turned and threw to shortstop Ivan De Jesus Jr. at second base. De Jesus got his tag on Jaso just before his hand got back to the bag. The Pirates challenged the call but it stood upon video replay. More >
"I thought it was a very good step in the right direction." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on Cole's season debut
"I think he's already special, and not just because of the offense. This is a kid who transfers over from being an everyday shortstop to playing third base and looking really good. He looks like a dynamic defender, and he's just learning the position." -- Reds manager Bryan Price on Suarez
The Pirates have started the same eight position players in each of their first five games this season, and they have batted in the same order each game. The last time the Bucs sent out the same top eight five straight times to open the season? The 1980 season, when Omar Moreno hit leadoff, Dave Parker batted third and Willie Stargell was the cleanup man.
With two runners in scoring position and nobody out in the seventh, McCutchen knocked a weak grounder to Votto at first. Votto stepped on first base for one out then threw to De Jesus Jr. at second base, where Jaso was thrown out retreating back to the bag. Following a two-minute, 59-second review, the call stood and the Pirates' rally quickly fizzled.
Pirates: Left-hander Jeff Locke will start the series finale against the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Sunday afternoon, making his 2016 debut and putting his revamped delivery through its first real test. Locke is hoping for a more consistent season after going 8-11 with a 4.49 ERA last season. He is 3-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 11 career starts against the Reds.
Reds: Tim Melville becomes the second rookie pitcher this week and the 11th in the past two seasons to start a game for the Reds. He'll make the start after Anthony DeSclafani's rehabilitation from a left oblique strain was put on hold this week. Melville worked to develop his changeup and curveball during Spring Training and impressed Price and pitching coach Mark Riggins with his confidence to use the pitches in different counts and situations.

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