Walker Leads Way As Pirates Defeat Reds 5-3
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — After team officials introduced their latest first-round draft pick, the Pirates took to the field Saturday afternoon and pulled out a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds in front of a packed PNC Park.
Neil Walker had two RBI singles, the second of which drove in Andrew McCutchen with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
Walker’s hit off of Aroldis Chapman (2-1) was his third hit of the game, and Brandon Wood followed with an RBI double, allowing the Pirates to improve to 8-3 against the Reds this season.
McCutchen and Ryan Ludwick each had two hits.
Recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, rookie Tony Watson (1-2) got his first major league victory by getting the final two outs of the top of the seventh after the Reds had tied it at 3 against Chris Resop.
Jose Veras pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out Drew Stubbs and Dave Sappelt after allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach.
A day after allowing a season-high three runs in taking the loss, Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect the ninth for his 31st save but first since July 28.
Charlie Morton didn’t have his best stuff, though he pitched six effective innings, lowering his ERA to 0.93 ERA in 29 innings against the Reds this season.
For the Reds, Joey Votto twice drove in Brandon Phillips with RBI singles for the Reds, who have lost four of six. Phillips reached base four times.
Morton had a scoreless innings streak of 24 snapped in the final inning of his most recent outing on Sunday when Hanrahan allowed an inherited runner to score.
Morton allowed a run for the second consecutive inning when Phillips led off Saturday’s game with a single, moved to second on a groundout and came home when Votto singled to right.
But Morton faced only one over the minimum over the next 4 2-3 innings before Phillips and Votto each singled again to produce a run in the sixth. Morton was charged with two runs on seven hits, a walk and two strikeouts. He has allowed three runs in four starts versus the Reds this season.
RBI singles by Ronny Cedeno in the fourth and Ryan Ludwick and Walker – consecutively in the fifth – gave Pittsburgh the lead, and Morton was in line to improve to 4-0 against Cincinnati this season after he was lifted following six innings.
But the Reds quickly tied the game against Resop when Ramon Hernandez doubled in Stubbs.
Cincinnati’s Dontrelle Willis remained winless in eight starts this season, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings.
Meantime, the Pirates formally introduced Gerrit Cole, this year’s overall No. 1 draft choice, at PNC Park Saturday afternoon.
Cole agreed to a deal Monday night that included an $8 million signing bonus. The right-hander pitched three years at UCLA.
The Pirates and Reds finish off their three-game series Sunday at 1:35 p.m.