Shaky starting pitching? Check.
The Bucs were hoping veteran Trevor Cahill would help stabilize a starting staff that’s been erratic so far, but instead he took the worst drubbing of this young season. He gave up a solo homer to Tyler Naquin in the first off of an errant change up, and instead of settling down, Cahill got even worse in the second, giving up a run-scoring single to Jonathan India and another long ball to Naquin, this one a three-run shot off a cutter to give Cincy a 5-0 lead.
Naquin had himself a monster night for the Reds, as he finished 3-for-4 from the plate with two dingers, two runs scored, and seven (not a misprint) RBIs. India also had himself a night, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs, including a triple off of Duane Underwood in the bottom of the sixth that scored Nick Senzel. He was another Red with a big night, as Senzel also finished 3-for-4, and he scored four runs.
How bad did it get for Pirates pitching? Cahill gave up seven runs off of nine hits in four innings, while Clay Holmes was shellacked for five runs on three hits and two walks in just one-third of an inning, and Underwood followed that up by giving up two more runs on five hits in two and one-third.
After Rich Rodriguez got the final out of the seventh on a K in his only batter faced, the Pirates actually turned to utility fielder Phillip Evans to pitch the eight inning of this blowout, and he was the best Bucs pitcher tonight, throwing a five-pitch, one-two-three inning, the only straight inning of the game for Pittsburgh.
Weak plate production? Check.
The bats of the Buccos also continued to struggle, as they have since after Opening Day against the Chicago Cubs and the loss of their offensive engine Ke’Bryan Hayes. The Pirates finished the game with just five hits, and their only run came off of a Evans solo shot off a Sal Romano slider in the top of the seventh. Basically, Evans was the only guy who showed up tonight.
Wade Miley totally shut down Pittsburgh, finishing his night with no runs off two hits, two walks, and six strike outs in six strong innings. Romano and Carson Fulmer finished the game for the Reds.
Oh, and to accentuate some other running weaknesses of the season, the Pirates walked another three batters tonight, making it 23 free passes in five games, and they committed an error on a Cahill pickoff attempt. There was bad baseball in all facets tonight.
The Bucs now fall to 1-4 on the year and will return to action tomorrow night in Cincy looking to avoid being swept. It’s another 6:40pm start.