CINCINNATI (AP) – Adam Frazier hit the first of three homers off Anthony DeSclafani, who hasn’t beaten Pittsburgh in his last seven tries, and the Pirates returned from a three-day layoff with a flourish, beating the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 Thursday night.
Pittsburgh’s three-game series in St. Louis was called off because of the Cardinals’ COVID-19 outbreak. The Pirates showed no rust against a pitcher they’ve dominated.
“Was it the boost we needed? Sure,” said Trevor Williams (1-3), who went five innings. “In combination with the three days off, it was pretty nice for us.”
DeSclafani (1-1) didn’t allow a run in either of his first two starts this season. Frazier connected on the right-hander’s second pitch Thursday, and the Pirates surged to a 9-0 lead after two innings.
“It seemed like they were on everything,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We hated to keep him out there, but he’s such a good pitcher. We don’t have answers. We talked to him during the game and he didn’t have answers.”
DeSclafani hasn’t beaten the Pirates since June 17, 2018, at PNC Park. Since then, he’s 0-5 in seven starts – all Pirates wins – giving up 29 runs in 32 1/3 innings.
The Pirates won for only the second time in their last 12 games.
“A lot of guys, including myself, have been searching a little bit,” Frazier said. “I think it was great, a mental reset.”
Colin Moran also connected in the first inning for his sixth homer. Gregory Polanco led off the second with a home run, the fourth time in his career that DeSclafani has given up three in a game, his career high.
The Pirates sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the second inning, their biggest of the season. Josh Bell singled home a pair of runs, and Moran had an RBI single during the rally, which included DeSclafani walking Polanco with the bases loaded.
DeSclafani gave up a career-worst nine runs in two innings. His previous high was seven runs allowed, done twice against the Mets in 2014 and 2015.
Nick Senzel had a run-scoring single and a two-run homer off Williams, who allowed three runs in five innings. Senzel added an RBI double in the eighth off Geoff Hartlieb that cut it to 9-5, and Tucker Barnhart ended an 0-for-22 slump with a leadoff homer in the ninth against Keone Kela.
Since the middle of the 2018 season, the Pirates have gone 23-9 against the Reds, including 10-6 at Great American Ball Park.
LIKES THE PLACE
Pirates first-year manager Derek Shelton has always enjoyed how the ball flies at Great American Ball Park.
“A lot of people like to hit at this ballpark,” Shelton said. “I’ve been here as a hitting coach. I was really fond of it as a hitting coach.”
Shogo Akiyama slammed into the left-field wall to rob Frazier of an RBI double in the fifth inning, holding on as he hit the ground after making the catch.
Barnhart ended his deep slump with the homer in the ninth, but Nick Castellanos went 1 for 5, leaving him in a 4-for-30 rut.
Pirates: Kela was reinstated from the injured list and LHP Miguel Del Pozo was designated for assignment. Kela’s pitch to Derek Dietrich helped spark a brawl between the teams July 31 last year.
Reds: Mike Moustakas is eligible to come off the injured list Sunday. Bell said Moustakas is recovering nicely from an injured left thigh and should be ready to play Sunday or shortly thereafter.
Pirates: Chad Kuhl (0-0) is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA in five career starts against the Reds. He’s given up two runs or less in four of the five starts.
Reds: Sonny Gray (3-1) hasn’t allowed more than six hits in any of his last 37 starts, a major league record.