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Early offensive burst enough to power Pirates to win in Cincinnati

Jason Mackey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Baseball

CINCINNATI -- A few days off and a trip to this beautiful bandbox along the Ohio-Kentucky border may have cured the Pirates' offensive woes.

At minimum, those factors contributed to a 9-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday at Great American Ball Park, the Pirates snapping a three-game losing streak by erupting for all of their runs in the first two innings.

Adam Frazier led off the game with a home run, while Colin Moran and Gregory Polanco followed with early shots over the fence, as the Pirates (4-13) have now homered 11 times in their last five games at Great American Ball Park dating back to 2019.

Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani came into this one having not allowed a single earned run in his previous two starts, but the Pirates evidently were not impressed.

They made a bunch of loud contact against DeSclafani, including seven balls in the first two innings that carried an exit velocity of at least 100 mph.

It was a welcomed change for a group that awoke Thursday with the worst OPS in the National League (.601) and the second-lowest batting average (.209), one that didn't have issues scoring runs late but pushed across almost none early.

 

Just one example: With a pair of solo home runs, the Pirates matched their season total for runs in the first inning.

"I think from the seventh inning on, we're doing a better job," manager Derek Shelton said before the game. "We have to do a better job with starters, and it's been part of the conversation that we're having with our group right now."

But even though the Pirates came out swinging after three days off because their series in St. Louis was postponed, this win didn't come as easily as it should have. They made it more interesting than it needed to be.

The Reds chipped away at the Pirates' 9-0 lead and crept to within four in the eighth inning after center fielder Nick Senzel doubled off of Geoff Hartlieb.

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