McCoy: Reds drop seventh straight to Pirates, lose 96th game of season

For eight innings Wednesday afternoon in PNC Park, it looked as if the Cincinnati Reds would not only suffer their seventh straight loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it would be an inglorious shutout.

Then the ninth inning happened.

Down 3-0, the Reds scored three times in the ninth on back-to-back home runs by Kyle Farmer and Jake Fraley to tie it.

Even that didn’t work. It only extended the Reds misery against the Pirates into extra innings.

Kevin Newman blooped a two-out, 2-and-2 Alexis Diaz pitch into short center field that scored ghost runner Diego Castillo from second base for a 4-3 walk-off Pirates victory.

So the Pirates did put it to the Reds for the seventh straight time with some brilliant pitching by starter Bryse Wilson. Wilson came into the game with a 3-9 record and a 5.95 earned run average. But he pitched well three times this season against the Reds.

And the last-place Pirates moved to within one game of joining the Reds in a tie for fourth/fifth place in the National League Central. It was Cincinnati’s 96th loss and its 16th loss in 20 games.

The Reds had just three hits off Wilson in eight innings and all three came off one bat, a usually quiet bat. Jose Barrero came into the game 2 for his last 31, but he had three hits. He doubled in the third, singled in the fifth and singled in the eighth.

Only two other Cincinnati batters reached base during Wilson’s eight innings, a walk to T.J. Friedl in the sixth and a hit by pitch on pinch-hitter Donovan Solano in the eighth.

Wilson was in complete control through eight, but with 90 pitches Pittsburgh manager Derrick Shelton decided to replace him with Chase De Jong, an unfortunate move for the Pirates.

Spencer Steer opened the ninth with a single and Kyle Farmer homered, cutting the margin to 3-2. The next batter, Jake Fraley, also cleared the fence with a game-tying home run.

And Matt Reynolds doubled to put the potential go-ahead run on second, but Barrero flied out to deep center field.

Diaz pitched the bottom of the ninth and retired the first two before he hit Bryan Reynolds with a pitch, the 105th batter hit by Cincinnati pitchers, extending their major league record for hit batsmen in a season.

The Reds didn’t score in the 10th, mainly because Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz speared Steer’s two-out line drive headed for a run-scoring single.

With Castillo, the ghost runner to start the bottom of the tenth, the Reds intentionally walked Ben Gamel. Diaz easily retired Ke’Bryan Hayes on a called third strike and Jack Suwinski on a pop foul.

That brought Newman to the plate, 0 for 3 with an eight-game hitting streak on the line. His blooper extended that streak to nine games and Pittsburgh’s mastery over the Reds to seven straight, tying the seven they won in a row against the Reds in 2018.

PNC Park is not a fun place for the Reds. They are 14-29 in the House that Clemente Built over the last five years.

The Pirates scored a run in the first and two in the second off Reds starter Luis Cessa.

Cruz opened the bottom of the first with a single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Miguel Andujar’s double.

The Pirates made it 3-0 in the second on a two-run bases loaded double by Cruz off the top of the 21-foot-high wall in right, his eighth hit of the series.

And that’s the way it stayed until the Reds suddenly woke up in the ninth, only to have Newman put them back to sleep.

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