McCoy: Minor struggles, Reds fall to Pirates

The Cincinnati Reds’ attempt to escape the weary wasteland of fourth place at the expense of the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates hit a roadblock Monday night in Great American Ball Park.

It was a tale of two pitchers, one on the negative side for the Reds and one on the positive side for the Pirates.

And it resulted in a 6-3 victory for the Pirates, a team that came to town with losses in eight of its last 10 and 16 of its last 20.

Reds’ starter Mike Minor, a winner in his last three decisions, retreated to giving up home runs — three on this night.

Pirates starter Bryce Wilson brought a 2-8 record with a 6.11 earned average into the game, but he was a difficult jigsaw puzzle to the Reds.

He pitched 5 2/3 innings and held the Reds to three runs and seven hits and was rewarded with his third victory.

To add insult, former Reds No. 1 draft pick Robert Stephenson entered the game in the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs and retired Nick Senzel on a line drive to center field.

Then he struck out the side in the seventh with a bundle of knee-buckling breaking pitches to whiff Jose Barrero, Chuckie Robinson and T.J. Friedl.


He gave up six runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out five to lose his 11th game.

PIRATES 1st: Bryan Reynolds homered into the second deck in left field, his 22nd home run.

PIRATES 5th: Kevin Newman singled, Reynolds singled and Rodolfo Castro crushed a three-run home run. Ke’Bryan Hayes reached on an error by second baseman Alejo Lopez and Diego Castillo homered to complete a five-run inning.

Minor has given up 23 home runs in 95 innings.

The Reds took a brief lead in the fourth, 2-1, on suddenly productive Aristides Aquino’s two-run home run, but the Pirates followed it with their five-run fifth.

Cincinnati scored a run in the sixth on a bases-loaded infield hit by Lopez, but Stephenson came in to squelch the rally and leave it at 6-3.

The Reds threatened with two outs in the eighth against Pittsburgh relief pitcher Will Crowe. He walked Jake Fraley and Aquino singled, his second hit to go with his homer and a walk, but Lopez grounded out.

Crowe remained on the mound for the ninth and opened the inning by walking Senzel, sporting a new stand-up stance. Donovan Solano, batting for Barrero, singled to center on an 0-and-2 pitch.

Jonathan India, given the day off after striking out five times in Milwaukee on Sunday, batted for Chuckie Robinson, representing the tying run. He worked the count to 3-and-2 and took a called strike, his sixth straight strikeout.

T.J. Friedl worked a seven-pitch at bat but lined out hard to right field. And Spencer Steer hit into a game-ending force play. Crowe was credited with a 44-pitch two-inning save.

It was a frustrating offensive night for the Reds. They had nine hits but hit into two double plays and were 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Defensively, the Reds were sloppy, charged with three errors.

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