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Suarez dingers, Reds hold off Pirates for 5-1 win

Back into first place we go.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Perhaps nobody was more eager for a comeback performance after Friday's game than Eugenio Suarez. He reached base twice at the plate, but played an abysmal game defensively at third base, making two errors and in general being largely ineffective in a game that came down to just one run. But, he isn't in the lineup for his defense; he's here because of his bat, and he showcased that once again on Saturday. Suarez finished the game 2-for-3 with a monster home run (his third of the season), 3 RBI's and 3 runs scored to power the Reds in their first division win of the season.Suarez has yet to play a full season in his career, so you have to think pitchers will adapt to him at some point. But until then, it's awfully fun to watch him put on this kind of show with the stick. Have a trophy, Suarez. It's far from your last, I'm sure.

Honorable mentions go to Raisel Iglesias, who earned his first win of the season with 5.2 innings pitched and one run allowed on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts, Joey Votto, who recorded two hits and a walk, Billy Hamilton, who reached base twice and scored twice in his first leadoff appearance of 2016, and Blake Wood, Caleb Cotham, and J.J. Hoover, who combined for 3.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Key Plays:

  • There was much discussion in pre-game about how much Gerrit Cole has struggled in his career against Cincinnati, and that proved to be a solid segue into the Reds' half of the first. Billy Hamilton, leading off for the first time this season, poked an 0-2 pitch into left field toward the line, and reaching second on it despite the fact that Starling Marte had the ball in his glove as Hamilton was rounding first. Suarez followed with a base hit to right field to score Hamilton, before Votto notched a rare pull-single. Two batters later, Jay Bruce continued his hot start with a hard-hit run-scoring single to center. Schebler hit into a double play to end the inning, but the Reds were off and running with a 2-0 lead.
  • Things calmed down a bit after that, with Cole and Iglesias each settling in and stranding some important runners. The pitchers combined for five hits and three walks allowed in the second, third and fourth innings, but didn't allow any of them to cross home plate. Reds led 2-0 entering the fifth.
  • All of those baserunners mean a lot of pitches, though, and Cole was victimized the worst by this. He retired the first two hitters of the fifth, but then walked Suarez and gave up a base hit to Votto on a high fastball. Votto's single came on Cole's 100th pitch, so manager Clint Hurdle opted to turn to Arquimedes Caminero with two runners on and two outs and Brandon Phillips due up. Phillips won the matchup, singling to left to bring home Suarez. Unfortunately, Votto was cut down trying to go first-to-third in the process for the third out. Suarez's run came first though, so the Reds' lead was 3-0.
  • That same inability to close things out struck Iglesias in the top of the sixth, as he retired the first two hitters he faced before surrendering a single and a walk. The walk prompted a visit from Captain Pico, who turned Iglesias loose against Josh Harrison, who turned in his best Brandon Phillips performance and singled to center. Hamilton's throw home came in plenty of time, but was too far up the third base line for Barnhart to get a handle on. The run ended Iglesias' day, with Bryan Price placing Blake Wood in charge of getting the final out. Wood induced a popup out of Jordy Mercer, and the Reds escaped the sixth with a 3-1 advantage.
  • The strand job was a big one for Wood in the sixth, but he turned in an even better one in the seventh. After a walk and double put runners at second and third with nobody out, Wood got McCutchen to hit a ground ball to Votto, who stepped on the bag and quickly turned and threw to second, which John Jaso was frantically racing to get back to. Jaso was tagged out by De Jesus, and after a Pirates challenge, it was officially ruled a double play. Wood struck out Freese to preserve the lead, 3-1 in favor of Cincinnati.
  • No amount of insurance could be too much after Friday night, and Suarez provided some big insurance late, with a 420-foot blast to center field that doubled the Reds' lead. Going to the 8th, Reds led 5-1.
  • J.J. Hoover, who was desperate for a palate cleanser of his own, got the Pirates out in order in the ninth. Final score: Reds 5, Pirates 1.


Source: FanGraphs

Other notes:

  • This win brings the Reds back into a tie for first place in the division. AND SO CLOSE TO PLAYOFF TIME.
  • This game brings Gerrit Cole's career ERA against the Reds to 5.92 in 5 games. Heh.
  • Price mentioned before this one that he'd like to get right-hander Dan Straily into a game soon, but didn't use him as one of his three relievers to get the job done today. Hard to argue with the results, though.
  • Tim Melville will get the ball for the Reds on Sunday for his major league debut. Give 'em hell, kid.
  • Tunes.