For a little bit, the Pirates emerged from the dead ball era, jumping all over Anthony DeSclafani for nine early runs. Then they hung on for a 9-6 win.
The Bucs started shellacking DeSclafani right off the bat. Adam Frazier took the game’s second pitch over the fence in right-center for his third home run of the year. After two outs, Colin Moran blasted his sixth longball well over the fence in straightaway center.
The Pirates sent a dozen batters to the plate in the second inning. It started with Gregory Polanco mashing a towering dinger to right-center, his second home run on the year, making it 3-0. Erik Gonzalez followed with a double, his first of two in the game. After an out, the Bucs got five straight singles, with Jacob Stallings and Moran each getting an RBI, and Josh Bell two. Two more runs scored on a bases-loaded walk to Polanco and a grounder by Gonzalez, leaving the Pirates up, 9-0.
The Reds finally removed DeSclafani for the start of the third and the Pirates’ hitters hit the snooze button. They got only two hits over the last seven innings, getting shut down mostly by struggling relievers Cody Reed and Michael Lorenzon. They might have done better if Reds’ left fielder Shogo Akiyama hadn’t robbed them of a couple hits.
Trevor Williams went five innings for the Pirates, long enough to pick up his first win. He gave up seven hits and a walk, fanned four and allowed three runs. He got a break in the second. After a walk and two singles drove in a run, the Reds had runners at the corners with one out. Freddy Galvis grounded to Colin Moran at first, who stepped on the bag and threw to second to get the tag, which Kevin Newman handled quite nicely on a close play. The ump ruled the tag happened before the runner from third reached home, so the run didn’t count. The Reds challenged unsuccessfully and the score was 9-1.
Williams gave up two more in the fourth on a home run by Nick Senzel. He left after the fifth, having thrown 91 pitches.
The Pirates’ bullpen muddled through just well enough after that. Sam Howard had a nice sixth inning, striking out two, then gave up a bomb to Freddy Galvis leading off the seventh. After another strikeout, he left for Geoff Hartlieb. The righty finished the inning, then ran into real trouble in the eighth. He left with a run in, runners at second and third, and one out. Deprived of Miguel Del Pozo, Derek Shelton had to go to Richard Rodriguez, who snuffed out the threat with a strikeout and ground out.
Keone Kela made his first appearance of the year in the ninth. Considering the circumstances, it wasn’t too bad. Tucker Barnhart greeted him with a home run, making it 9-6, and the next batter singled. Kela then retired three straight. Williams improved to 1-3 and the Pirates to 4-13.