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Cincinnati Reds score early, back Michael Lorenzen in 4-1 win over Pirates

A series win, with a chance for a sweep tomorrow.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

It’s not easy to just up and replace your Opening Day starter, one who finished with Cy Young Award votes last year and made an All Star team. But when Sonny Gray went down, there was an even more interesting wrinkle facing the Cincinnati Reds - Monday’s scheduled doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates, one that would only further shuffle a rotation that had otherwise been the rock of the club.

Well, that landed in Michael Lorenzen’s lap, and the starter-turned-reliever jumped back into starter mode for tonight’s outing, and it could not have gone much better.

Lorenzen fired 5 innings of 4 hit, 1 ER ball, fanning 6 while not issuing any free passes. On top of that, the likes of Tejay Antone, Lucas Sims, and Amir Garrett jumped in with excellent, scoreless outings to back him, and the bullpen came through in a big, big way when the Reds needed it most.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Tucker Barnhart, who socked a homer; Shogo Akiyama, who had another pair of singles to continue his on-base tear; and Nick Castellanos, who singled, doubled, and scored a run.

Key Plays

  • The Reds put a 3-spot on the board in the Bottom of the 1st, and did so in a collaborative effort that featured nary a dinger. Imagine that! Shogo got the party started with a single into LF, and Castellanos followed with a single of his own. A Votto walk then loaded the bags, which were reloaded (with a ribbie) when Pirates starter Joe Musgrove hit Mike Moustakas on the foot with a breaking ball. A Brian Goodwin sac-fly to RF then scored Votto, and Galvis later smoked a 2-out single into LF that scored another run thanks to the runners being in motion on the pitch. Reds led, 3-spot to 0-spot.
  • The dingermobile showed up in the Bottom of the 2nd, however, as Tucker smoked a Musgrove meatwad 404 feet and well over the RF wall, planting it on top of the bullpen for a solo shot. Reds led, 4-0.
  • Lorenzen cruised into the Top of the 4th, but that’s when everyone in the Pirates lineup got to see him a second time. Ke’Bryan Hayes greeted him with a double down the LF line, and Hayes scored a batter later on a single up the middle off the bat of Colin Moran. Lorenzen wiggled out from there, however, and the Reds held a 4-1 lead. That lead held up.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • That’s now a 4-game win streak, one that’s been part of the Reds winning 6 of their last 8 games.
  • Wednesday’s series finale against the Pirates will feature another 6:40 PM ET start time. Luis Castillo will toe the rubber for the Reds fresh off his complete game win, while the Pirates will counter with rookie righty JT Brubaker.
  • Tunes.