PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Pirates were looking to finish off a three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon, but the Cincinnati Reds edged out a 5-4 win, spoiling the final home game at PNC Park for the season.
Chase d’Arnaud had two hits for the Pirates, including a two-run triple.
But the Reds’ Dontrelle Willis (1-6) scattered three hits over six innings and had a two-run double to pick up his first win of the season. And Francisco Cordero survived an eventful ninth to pick up his 35th save.
The Pirates drew 28,758 for their home finale at PNC Park and drew 1.94 million for the season, the fourth-highest mark in team history. They finished the year 36-45 at home.
Daniel Moskos (1-1) took the loss, allowing three consecutive hits in the sixth, the last one a double to right-field by Willis, one of the best-hitting pitchers in the game.
Willis has been so-so since being called up from Triple-A Louisville in July. The Reds blew saves in three of his first five starts but his effectiveness has waned over the last month.
Cincinnati skipped his next start in the rotation while Willis dealt with some back spasms, but he finally delivered on the mound at the plate to avoid finishing the year winless.
His only real trouble came in the second. A single by Derrek Lee, a walk to Ryan Ludwick and a couple of wild pitches put runners on second and third with one out. D’Arnaud, batting just .121 in 19 games since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 25, tripled to left-center then came home on Mike McKenry’s sacrifice fly.
It’s all the offense the Pirates would get, and Willis used his considerable skills at the plate to put the Reds back in front. He drilled an offering from Moskos in the sixth to pick up his third double of the season. He’s hitting .400 (12 of 30) this year and could become the first pitcher since 16 years to hit at least .400 in a season. Allen Watson hit .417 (15 of 36) for St. Louis in 1996.
Jay Bruce and Chris Heisey had two hits apiece for the Reds.
The Pirates won the season series against the defending NL Central champions 10-5 but couldn’t finish off their first three-game home sweep of the Reds since April 2010.
The Pirates made it interesting in the ninth. Andrew McCutchen led off with a walk and scored on Neil Walker’s double. Cordero settled down to strike out Garrett Jones and got Pedro Alvarez to fly out to left to end it.
The Pirates now head to Milwaukee where they will finish up their season with a three-game series against the Brewers starting Monday at 8:10 p.m.