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By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Last night’s game against the Reds was frustrating in the fact that the Pirates battled hard, making comeback after comeback, wasting a few opportunities down the stretch and coming up just short in the end.  After opening this most recent home stand with two wins over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pirates had dropped their last two games at PNC Park.  It was an important game this afternoon as the Bucs looked to revert back to their winning ways against the Reds.
That’s exactly what they did today, scrapping their way to a 5-3 victory to even the series with the Reds, setting up the rubber match tomorrow afternoon.
Charlie Morton pitched a nice game for the Pirates, giving up two runs on seven hits through his six innings of work, while Tony Watson earned the victory on the night, the first of his MLB career.
Joey Votto’s RBI single got Cincinnati on the board in the first inning, scoring Brandon Phillips to give the Reds the early advantage.
The Pirates tied the game in the fourth, and took the lead in the fifth with two more runs.  Ronny Cedeno singled home Andrew McCutchen to even things, 1-1.  RBI singles by Ryan Ludwick and Neil Walker gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
Votto’s RBI single, once again scoring Phillips, cut the lead to one run in the sixth, and Ramon Hernandez’s RBI double in the seventh tied the game, costing Morton a victory.
As they have done pretty consistently on this home stand thus far, the Pirates battled back, scoring two runs off Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning on RBI singles by Walker and Brandon Wood.  For Walker, it capped off a game in which he went 3-4 with two RBI’s.
Joel Hanrahan came in and set the Reds down in order in the ninth, securing his 31st save of the season.
Walker’s 3-hit performance led the way for Pittsburgh, who also received multi-hit games from McCutchen and Ludwick.  This was a well-earned team victory for the Pirates, and it was a very nice response to last night’s nail biting loss.
The Pirates had 11 hits tonight, 10 of them being singles, and they scrapped and battled their way through to a well-earned victory over the Reds today.  They improve to 8-3 against Cincinnati this season, with the rubber match now set for tomorrow afternoon.
Record Vs. Reds: 8-3
Record Vs. N.L. Central: 28-25
Record At Home: 29-34
Overall Record: 59-65
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!