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Reds come back in ninth, beat Pirates in 10

Sep 20, 2013, 11:35 PM EDT

Jordy Mercer Getty Images

A Jordy Mercer error on a routine grounder to shortstop opened the door for the Reds to score three runs in the ninth, and Joey Votto hit a go-ahead homer in the 10th as Cincinnati won in Pittsburgh 6-5 on Friday.

The result leaves the two teams with identical 88-66 records behind the soon-to-be 90-64 or 89-65 Cardinals in the NL Central.

The Pirates were up by three headed to the top of the ninth, but Mark Melancon couldn’t pitch around the Mercer error, which came with one on and two outs. Ryan Ludwick scored from second on the play and two more singles followed. The last, from Devin Mesoraco, went off third baseman Pedro Alvarez‘s glove and bounced past Mercer at shortstop, allowing pinch-hitter Billy Hamilton to score the tying run from second.

Votto’s go-ahead homer off Kyle Farnsworth barely sliced over the low wall in left field, eluding Starling Marte.

It’s not in Pirates manager Clint Hurdle’s nature to use defensive replacements, but he might rethink that strategy in light of Mercer’s 14th error tonight. Clint Barmes, who shares time with Mercer, is still the Pirates’ best defensive shortstop. Mercer offers more offense, though pretty much all of his production comes against left-handers. Versus righties, the Pirates are likely better off with Barmes in there anyway.

Mercer, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI in the contest, ended up being removed from the game anyway, as Travis Snider was called on to pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the ninth.

The loss overshadowed a fine performance from Francisco Liriano, who allowed two runs over eight innings and picked up his 1,000th career strikeout.

  1. frankgarrett - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    not a fan of both teams . but should be a Wild Card 1 game Preview .. I’ll pull for the Reds .. I hate the steelers

  2. steelers88 - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Hitting Cutch hitting the dynamic and momentum tonight! The bully keeps bullying, the Bucs keep playing the victim. They need to punch the bully in the mouth!

  3. steelers88 - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    Don’t like Francisco Liriano pulling himself out of the game. Putting yourself first in before the team loses points in my book.

    • dan1111 - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:42 AM

      Telling your manager when you have nothing left in the tank is the opposite of putting yourself before the team. It is exactly what a pitcher should do. No one would have predicted the ninth going the way it did–very rarely do teams make up a three run deficit in that situation.

      • dan1111 - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:45 AM

        If Banister had sent Liriano out there despite being tired, and then Liriano had given up the runs, I guarantee you would have been second-guessing that decision. This is nothing but hindsight.

  4. pens5829 - Sep 21, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Diusty Baker’s a dirtbag and should be suspended for several games for his blatant attempts to injure players. These aren’t just hitters being beaned. Each one is higher than the next and MLB allows it to continue. If Hurdle doesn’t have his pitcher plant the first pitch of the game in Votto’s ear hole Saturday night, the Pirates are done.

    As for Mark Carlson, he’s a sorry excuse for an umpire for issuing a warning after one batter getting hit. Second time Dusty’s girls have been protected this year by pansy-a$$ umps. MLB’s a joke.

    • discountdblcheck - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:47 AM

      Well, if your assumption that the Reds threw at McCutchen on purpose, then perhaps you should rethink. I doubt very seriously that if the Reds were to throw intentionally at anyone that it would be with Sam LeCure. His velocity typically maxes out at 88. The Reds have better options if the Reds intent were to hurt someone. They have Chapman, who can hit 103. They have Simon who can hit 95, 96. If the Reds intent were to injure someone by hitting the Pirates hitters, then Sam LeCure would be the very last pitcher sent in to do that job.

    • dan1111 - Sep 21, 2013 at 2:38 AM

      Issuing a warning after one batter being hit is standard practice for all but the most outrageous behavior. The logic being that intent to hit is rarely clear.

      And the lead-off hitter in the eighth inning of a close game during a playoff race is not exactly the number one spot teams pick to plunk someone.

    • jm91rs - Sep 21, 2013 at 7:58 AM

      Keep in mind that last time I checked the pirates led the league in hitting batters and they also were responsible for knocking Brandon Phillips out for a little while with a pitch on the forearm. I hate the beanball wars but the pirates are anything but innocent in them.

      • paperlions - Sep 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM

        The Pirates (1st with 67), Cardinals (3rd 62), and Reds (6th, 59) are all in the top 6 in MLB in hitting batters….and all 3 teams are in the top six in batters being hit, Pirates (1st again with 83), Reds (2nd, 74), Cardinals (6th, 61). I haven’t seen many intentional HBPs among these three teams, just seems like all 3 have their pitchers throw to both sides of the plate and hitters just never move or make any attempt to get out of the way these days…they are striding into the pitch even as it comes at their head.

        Last year, none of these teams were in the top 10 in hitting batters or being hit. No way to really know if there is chippiness from the year-long intense race or if it is just interanual variation.

    • discountdblcheck - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      “Diusty Baker’s a dirtbag and should be suspended for several games for his blatant attempts to injure players.”

      I would trust the Pirates players on this that there was no intent. They made that part clear after the game.

      But to the point you made above. I think most Reds fans would welcome the suspension of Dusty Baker just to get that clown out of the dugout. Best case scenario would be to suspend Dusty in the one game playoff against the Pirates. Reds fans likely too would be ok if Dusty would be suspended for however long the Reds remain in the playoffs. The longer the suspension the better the chances of the Reds advancing in the playoffs.

      Dusty Baker 19-25 in playoffs
      Dusty Baker 3-9 in playoffs when Dusty Baker managed team has chance to eliminate other team.

      Be careful what you wish for as it would benefit the Reds with a suspension.

  5. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    Sure pirates keep trying to sale playoff tickets when you won’t even make it with the way you have been playing lately.

  6. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    It looks like the Pirates are done then because the Pirates after the game said it wasn’t intentional. Even Neil walker backed the Reds pitcher up.

    • pens5829 - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:38 AM

      Keep trolling.

  7. randomfan999 - Sep 21, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Yeah, its totally commonplace for a manager to have his pitcher plunk one of the fastest guys in the league in 8th inning, in a 3 run game, with a week left to play, in a tight, 3 team pennant race.

    • pens5829 - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:36 AM

      How many Reds/Pirates games have you watched the last two years?

      • discountdblcheck - Sep 21, 2013 at 2:08 AM

        After the hit by pitch the broadcast did show how many Reds batters were hit by pitch by Prates pitching the last 2 years, and how many Pirate batters were hit by pitch by Reds pitching the last 2 years.

        Reds hitters hit by Pirates pitchers 14
        Pirates hitters hit by Reds pitchers 13

      • jm91rs - Sep 21, 2013 at 8:04 AM

        And since this is the case how is dusty baker the only one to blame? The pirates lost, it had zero to do with one getting away from Sam lecure.

      • pens5829 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:55 AM

        You really don’t have a clue what Dusty’s intentions are do you? Doesn’t matter that the Reds are down in the game. Dusty’s sending a message. If you’ve watched ANY of the games the past two seasons you’d realize Dusty’s “targeting” the Pirates best players EACH and every time. Funny how it’s ALWAYS McCutchen the one being plunked. And location has everything to do with it. High and tight to the head. Intent to injure? Quite possibly. If you don’t see that, then you’re either a Reds fan, or blind.

        You do realize it McCutchen was the first better LeCure hit this year? Don’t tell me this one “got away”. BS. Dusty has a long reputation of playing this kind of cheap-a$$ baseball and if Votto doesn’t get one in the ear hole first pitch, then it’ll continue and MLB will continue to turn their heads.

      • jm91rs - Sep 21, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        Seriously, one in the ear hole is gonna end vottos season. Stay classy hoping for that to happen.

      • pens5829 - Sep 21, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        Have you see how many times Cutch has been hit high in the upper arm, near the head? Yeah? That’s right. They’ve all just gotten away… If they’ve all jus gotten away, then why is Cutch hit in the same exact spot each and every time? Go ahead. Try to rationalize that.

        The only way to stop the bully (i.e., Dusty Baker) is to punch him in the mouth (i.e., throw one high and tight). You think Dusty gives a rats a$$ if Cutch (or anyone else for that matter) gets hurt and doesn’t return and he gets a competitive advantage? You’re lying if you do.

  8. moogro - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    What’s going on? This comment thread is full of morons so far. Go rats!

  9. footballchic777 - Sep 21, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    If you think Dusty had McCutchen plunked, your nuts. We were already down 3 runs, so why would we put on a weekly, fast, runner? As someone already mentioned, LeCure isn’t really a fastball plunking threat…. I was impressed with our guys being able to come back and get it done 2 outs, needing 3 runs. And then Votto putting it away. I hope this is a turning point for our Reds offense mentally, and, of course, they are able to not just be a wild card team, but WIN the NL Central.

  10. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    It was obviously on purpose. The Reds tried hitting McCutchen Lecure tried to break McCutchen’s arm but luckily they didn’t. Be ready with A.J pitching I would expect to see a baseball thrown at Vottos or Phillips ear.

    • jm91rs - Sep 21, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      I’m confused, you posted that pirates players even say it wasn’t on purpose and now you say it was?

      • paperlions - Sep 21, 2013 at 8:32 AM

        Nah, I don’t think you are the one that is confused.

  11. watchfullhose - Sep 21, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Billy Hamilton, fast

    Two Billy Hamiltons could cover the entire outfield.

  12. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    The whole team is dirty! Look at what happened in the past the Reds VS Cards fight Aroldis chapman throwing at Nick Swisher. They threw at McCutchen’s head last year and they threw at Walkers head this year. AJ Burnett who is pitching tonight is type of player who will take care of this and finally end this! The Pirates should have hit someone last year.

    • bengalsucker - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      That’s lame dude. The Pirates lead the league in plunking hitters. You can give it but not take it huh? Stop being a whiner. If A.J. comes out and hits someone, he’ll be ejected. That simple. Does hitting someone mean more to you than winning the game?

  13. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Liriano had a pretty low pitch count after 8th inning. I think he threw like 80 something pitches. His thrown over 100 pitches earlier in the year.

    • dan1111 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      He’d thrown 94, and he’s not a high pitch count guy. He usually stops at about 100, and his high is 111. Which he could have easily exceeded had he gone out for the 9th.

      The bottom line is, if he said he was done, he was done. Sending out a tired starter is riskier than bringing in your closer. It’s too bad they lost, but there is nothing to second guess here.

  14. bengalsucker - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    God these Pirates fans are idiots if they think Dusty wanted Cutch on by getting hit in this game. That’s just stupid. That could have lost the game for us. Luckily, your defense cracked and blew it so we took advantage. Quit being cry babies and encourage your team to come out and play today. Always making excuses.

  15. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    I have no confidence in the Pirates. Their bullpen is falling apart and their offense sucks and their starting pitching is regressing. They will not even make the wild card game it will be Reds VS Nats in the wild card game. Hopefully this gives the Pirates extra determination next year. Well at least we have the Steelers….Oh wait they suck! LET’S GO PENGUINS!

  16. junglerat524 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    steelers88 is cracking me up. He’s kidding right?

  17. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    I’m not kidding. I have been watching the Pirates all year and since the All Star Break they are just a .500 team this doesn’t bode well for next year. This team is NOT a playoff team. Neal Hundington eyes should be wide open I wouldn’t be surprised if they blow up the team except for McCutchen, Walker, Martin, Marte, Cole, Burnett, Liriano, and Alvarez.

    • pens5829 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      Steelers88 is a tool.

  18. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Yes. The Pirates are going to lose this game anyway. So why not have some fun on a Saturday night!

  19. bengalsucker - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Having fun is whining about the other team plunking your best player and saying it was intentional? Especially in that situation. Just stupid.

  20. heyzeus143 - Sep 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Go Bucs, our time.

  21. steelers88 - Sep 21, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    No getting revenge is fun!

  22. spudchukar - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Knock each others brains out please. Nothing is better than a Reds/Pirates feud with 5 more tilts with 8 to play.

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