McCoy: Last-place Pirates sweep day-night DH from Reds

The 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates are not anywhere close to being like the famous Pittsburgh Lumber Company or the We Are Family Pirates of yesteryear.

The Cincinnati Reds wonder about that.

The Pirates swept two games from the Reds in a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, 6-1 and 1-0. The last-place Pirates have won the first three games of this four-game series and the Reds have lost five straight.

In 18 innings, the Reds scored one run and collected six hits, five in the first game and just one in the second game.

GAME ONE: The Pirates vacillated over whether to start reliever Johan Oviedo. At the last moment, they decided to send him out there. It was a wise decision.

Oviedo pitched five shutout innings and held the Reds to win hit, while walking two and striking out four.

Meanwhile, for the second straight game Cincinnati’s starting pitcher gave up three home runs. It was Mike Minor on Monday and it was Luis Cessa on Tuesday.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Cal Mitchell all connected off Cessa.

For some reason, Cessa and the Reds didn’t get the memo: “Don’t throw Reynolds a first-pitch strike.” He swings and he connects.

Cessa threw him a first-pitch strike in the third inning with two on and two outs and he ripped it for a run-scoring single.

Cessa threw him another first-pitch strike in the fifth with two out and nobody on and Reynolds banged over the right-field wall.  It was the 37th first-pitch hit by Reynolds this season.

Before the Reynolds home run, Hayes homered in the fourth.

And in the sixth, Cessa had two outs and a runner on second when Mitchell reached the right-field bleachers to give the Pirates a 5-0 lead.

Oviedo held the Reds hitless until the fifth. He issued back-to-back two-out walks in the third, but Jonathan India grounded out. The only hit off Oviedo was a one-out single by Spencer Steer in the fifth.

The Reds scored a run in the sixth T.J. Friedl led off with a double and India singled to shallow left center. India foolishly tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out. Friedl scored on Kyle Farmer’s ground ball.

That was the second out, but Thompson walked Jake Fraley and Aristides Aquino singled, but Nick Senzel’s line drive was speared via a leaping catch by second baseman Rodolfo Castro.

Teams are permitted to add an extra pitcher for doubleheaders and the Reds called up Kyle Dowdy. And is the habit of manager David Bell, he put his new trinket to immediate work.

Dowdy became the 64th player to appear for the Reds and the 37th pitcher, both records. Dowdy replaced Cessa and held the Pirates scoreless over 2 1/3 inings on two hits, two walks and two strikeouts.

GAME TWO: It was more of the same in the second game, outstanding pitching by the Pirates starter. Only this time the Reds starter matched it.

Pittsburgh’s Luis Ortiz, making his major league debut, shut down the Reds on no runs and one hit over 5 2/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts.

He walked Friedl to open the sixth, then struck out both Senzel and Donovan Solano. Despite the two strikeouts and only 83 pitches, he was removed.

On the Reds’ side, 32-year-old rookie Fernando Cruz made his first major league start as the opener for a bullpen day. Cruz, Reiver Sanmartin and Raynel Espinal blanked the Pirates on two hits for 6 1/3 innings.

Espinal was making his Reds debut, the 65th different player and 38th pitcher, extending the team record in both categories.

When Espinal gave up a one-out double in the seventh to Castro, Ian Gibaut was summoned from the bullpen and he gave up a single to Kevin Newman for the game’s first run.

The Reds’ only hit was a one-out double by Stuart Fairchild in the third, but he didn’t budge off second base.

Chase De Jong kept the Reds quiet for 1 1/3 innings — no runs, no hits, one walk and one strikeout, preserving Pittsburgh’s 1-0 lead heading into the eighth.

To completely rub it in, Duane Underwood Jr. was sent to the mound to close it. He was 1-and-6 with no career saves.

He retired Senzel, Solano, then walked Aquino to put the potential tying run on first. Kyle Farmer pinch-hit and flied to center, completing the one-hitter.

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