After an offensive explosion to start the game on Thursday the Pirates bats became silent for the remainder of the game. As Sonny Gray took the mound for the Reds we couldn’t help but wonder, which Pittsburgh ball club would show up to Great American Ball Park on Friday night. For the first three innings it would look like the later. Aside from a sharply hit double by Erik Gonzalez, Gray was on point, striking out four. In the top of the 4th the Pirates finally got to him as Bryan Reynolds hit his first home run of the season to centerfield.
For the Pirates it was Chad Kuhl’s time to shine as the reins were taken off and he was expected to pitch beyond the 4th inning. In the end things went pretty well as Jesse Winker was the only Red that could dial in on Kuhl’s offerings. Unfortunately this equaled two home runs and three runs scored by Cincinnati over five innings to give them a 3-1 lead over Pittsburgh leading into the 6th. He would ultimately exit the game with six strikeouts and only one walk, but the runs he gave up would leave him on the hook for the loss if the Pirates couldn’t make up ground.
As for Gray he continued to have his way with Pittsburgh’s lineup, totaling 10 strikes before being relieved by Nate Jones in the top of the 7th after giving up the second single to Cole Tucker. He worked his way out of the inning thanks to a nice catch by Shogo Akiyama on a sharply hit ball by Jacob Stallings.
Chad Kuhl was replaced by Nik Turley who held the Reds in check, striking out two. In the bottom of the 7th, Chris Stratton came in to keep the game close. In his previous three outings Stratton allowed only one run while striking out nine in five innings of work. However, this appearance was not a continuation of the previous ones as he allowed four runs on five hits, stretching Cincinnati’s lead to 7-1 in the blink of an eye. Brandon Waddell would follow in his first Major League appearance, allowing an additional run on back to back doubles.
The Pirates proceeded to go down quietly in the 9th and the game ended in a disappointing 8-1 final, only accumulating five hits. Fortunately they will have a chance to take a lead in the series as Steven Brault puts his foot on the rubber against Trevor Bauer, who is undefeated on the season with a .93 ERA in three starts.