The highlight was the return of Mike Moustakas to the lineup, his first sighting since May 15. He responded with three doubles, a two-run double in the first to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. And he doubled in the second and seventh.
“It was great to be in a big league stadium again, be on the field, and play,” said Moustakas. “This is the best, what you dream about when you were a little kid.
“Showing up to the field every day with a chance to get to the postseason,” he added. “It is so much fun to go on the field and play with this team. It is such a great group of guys with a great work ethic throughout the clubhouse. I just want to help out as much as I can, even though I’ve been gone for so long.”
Moustakas was in the lineup at third base and Eugenio Suarez was in the dugout, but manager David Bell has a plan.
“To begin with, they’ll naturally split some time,” said Bell. “We have a natural mix of left-handers and right-handers we’re facing that will create a good opportunity to integrate Moose back into the lineup and keep them both playing.
“Like we always say, things work themselves out,” he added. “For the next seven to ten days there will be a natural split and make it work for everyone.”
Moustakas helped the Reds win for the eighth time in their last 10 games and move eight games over .500 (59-51).
Of his first-inning two-run double, Moustakas said, “I had that early opportunity to drive in some runs after some great at bats by the guys in front of me. I got a good pitch to hit, I didn’t miss it, and I carried it over throughout the rest of the game.”
Kyle Farmer singled home two runs in the first and Tucker Barnhart launched a three-run home run to make it 7-0.
Jesse Winker led off the second with a home run, his 22nd to tie Suarez and Joey Votto for the team lead, and Farmer’s second single in two innings made it 9-0.
The beneficiary of the Reds taking batting practice was starting pitcher Wade Miley. It was the eighth time this year the Reds scored eight or more runs with him on the mound. Miley likes to say, “I’ve never lost a game when they get me 10 runs.”
And that 10th run came in the sixth, a home run by Jonathan India, the last position player that hadn’t scored a run on this night. It was India’s sixth homer in his last seven games.
The Reds offense is operating like a $300,000 Ferrari. It has scored five or more runs in 15 of 20 games since the All-Star break.
And after the Reds scored nine in the first two innings, the last-place Pirates, 25 games out of first place, put a stamp on this game and mailed it in.
Miley, now a nine-game winner, held the Pirates to no runs, six hits, walked two and struck out five over his seven-inning appearance. He needed only five pitches to cover the third inning.