The Pirates finally got the kind of start from Trevor Cahill that they were hoping he’d provide. They also got some good relief pitching. The hitters let the team down, though, in a 5-1, ten-inning loss to the Reds.
Cahill went five and a third innings, allowing just three hits, one a solo shot by Mike Moustakas. He didn’t dominate, striking out just one, but he didn’t walk anybody and got a lot of ground outs.
The relievers did their job through regulation, rescuing each other repeatedly. Sam Howard replaced Cahill with one out in the sixth and the lefty Jesse Winker up. Howard fanned Winker, but walked the next two. That brought in Clay Holmes, who got a ground out.
Chasen Shreve had to bail Holmes out in the next inning, fanning Tucker Barnhart with runners on the corners and one out. When Shreve gave up a leadoff hit in the eighth, David Bednar got three outs on strikeouts. And Richard Rodriguez threw a scoreless ninth.
The offense figured to be a problem when Derek Shelton chose to rest Adam Frazier, Bryan Reynolds and Jacob Stallings. That left the Pirates without a single major league hitter in the lineup. They managed seven singles, but fanned 14 times. They were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The one hit was a single by Gregory Polanco with two on in the fifth, which tied the game. A wild pitch put runners at second and third, but Erik Gonzalez grounded into a fielder’s choice out at the plate and Wilmer Difo whiffed.
In their last ten games, the Pirates are 8-for-83 w/RISP. This doesn’t so much show that the Pirates aren’t clutch. It shows that a slap-hitting offense that has to “make things happen,” in Shelton’s words, isn’t viable in today’s game.
Anyway, Duane Underwood has been showing lately why the Cubs weren’t interested in keeping him and it showed in a big way in the tenth. The first three batters reached and Eugenio Suarez later hit a three-run double. The Pirates couldn’t even get their free runner home.