CINCINNATI (AP) – The Reds got eliminated when they lost first game of a doubleheader. Then they got swept, too.
Sean Rodriguez homered in both games, and Andrew McCutchen had a bases-loaded single as the Pirates beat the Reds 7-3 on Saturday night for their first doubleheader sweep in Cincinnati since 1990.
In the opener, Jameson Taillon pitched five innings and singled to drive in a big league run for the first time during a 10-4 win that officially eliminated the Reds from postseason contention.
There was one glaring problem for Cincinnati in both games. Reds pitchers walked 10 batters in the first game and nine in the second, helping the Pirates pull ahead to big early leads.
“It’s not up to standards,” manager Bryan Price said. “We’ve given up a lot of runs in this series and most of them in large part because we’re not throwing the ball over the plate consistently. Walks have started rallies and continued rallies. It slows the tempo of the game. It wasn’t a highlight day by any means.”
McCutchen drove in three runs in the opener and had a bases-loaded single in the nightcap off left-hander Brandon Finnegan (9-11), who lasted only 2 1/3 innings. Finnegan gave up seven hits – all singles – but walked three, including Pirates starter Trevor Williams with the bases loaded.
“The only thing I couldn’t do was walk the pitcher,” Finnegan said. “They happened to get seven singles. Those balls were soft enough to fall in. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
Cincinnati’s Scott Schebler and Ramon Cabrera homered off Williams, who failed to retire any of the four batters he faced in the fifth inning. Juan Nicasio (10-6) didn’t allow a hit in two innings.
Rodriguez hit a solo homer, adding to his two-run shot in the first game. Pittsburgh has scored 41 runs in the last four games.
In the opener, the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning off Anthony DeSclafani and pulled away.
Pittsburgh sent nine batters to the plate in a 17-minute top of the first against DeSclafani (8-4), scoring four times with the help of three walks and the first of a six combined errors in the game. McCutchen singled home a pair of runs.
DeSclafani missed the first two months of the season with a strained oblique and skipped his prior turn. He gave up six runs in four innings, his shortest start in his last 15.
“It was just a bad game,” DeSclafani said. “It was my fault. I couldn’t get any momentum going. I put us in hole early.”
Jameson Taillon (4-4) gave up Adam Duvall’s three-run homer. His RBI single to center in the fifth made it 7-3.
The first pitch was delayed 62 minutes because of rain. The doubleheader, the first between the teams since a Reds sweep on Aug. 31, 2009, made up a May 10 postponement.
The Reds have allowed 238 homers, one shy of the NL mark (2001 Rockies) and three shy of the major league record (1996 Tigers). The bullpen already has set a major league record with 94 homers allowed, two more than the previous mark by the 1964 Kansas City Athletics.
Pittsburgh’s Matt Joyce drew his 21st walk as a pinch-hitter this season, a major league record. …Nicasio has fanned at least one batter in 29 straight appearances, a single-season record for Pirates relievers. The next-longest streak is Aroldis Chapman’s 37 games in 2014.
Pirates: OF Starling Marte missed both games with a sore back.
Reds: SS Zack Cozart sat out a sixth straight game with a sore right knee.
Pirates: Ivan Nova (12-6) starts the final game of the series on Sunday. He’s 5-0 with a 2.41 ERA in eight starts since the Pirates acquired him in a trade with the Yankees.
Reds: Dan Straily (12-8) will make his fifth start of the season against the Pirates. He’s 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA against Pittsburgh.
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