There was nothing for the Cincinnati Reds to play for Friday night in Pittsburgh except pride.
Pride falleth again.
The Reds had it all wrapped up, a one-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. What happened? Raisel Iglesias happened. Again.
He gave up a two-out, two-run walk-off home run to Reds-pest Kevin Newman, a 6-5 Pittsburgh victory. And it was relief pitcher Iglesias’ 13th loss.
The pride the Reds were playing for involved winning a game, any game, just one game, in PNC Park. Didn’t happen.
The Reds were 0-and-8 in PNC Park, they have lost 11 in a row in the Steel City and they have lost 18 of their last 20 on the banks of the Allegheny River.
The abrupt finish ruined an unusual night for center fielder/pitcher/center fielder Michael Lorenzen.
Lorenzen performed a rare feat when he started the game in center field and struck out three times. Then he came in to pitch the seventh inning of a 4-4 tie game.
Not only did he pitch a scoreless inning, but he drove in a go-ahead run in the eighth inning with a single to put the Reds ahead, 5-4. And that would have made him the winning pitcher if the Iglesias bus wreck didn’t show up.
Lorenzen remained on the mound for the eighth to protect the lead he provided for himself. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
Iglesias was handed the task of closing it out in the ninth and Lorenzen was shifted back to center field — a center fielder/relief pitcher/center fielder complete game.
Iglesias gave up a leadoff single to Jake Elmore and quickly wild pitched him to second, putting the tying run on second with no outs.
He retired Erik Gonzalez on a grounder back to the mound. He retired pinch-hitter Melky Cabrera on a grounder to second. That moved the tying run to third.
That brought up Newman, who hit a three-run home run earlier in the game. Bam. Gave Over. Two home runs, five RBI.
The Reds struck out 15 times. The Pirates, though, also walked eight batters and two scored.
The Reds have scored more runs in the first inning, by leaps and bounds, than any other team in baseball and added to their total Friday.
They scored two against Pittsburgh starter Steven Brault. One scored when Jose Peraza stole third and continued home on the catcher’s throwing error. Another scored on on a Jose Iglesias ground ball. That gave them 132 first-inning runs this season.
They pushed the advantage to 4-0 in the fifth on Phillip Ervin’s two-run single.
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani couldn’t hold on, though. His shutout ended in the fifth when he gave up back-to-back singles to open the inning and the three-run home run to Newman.
It was the 29th home run given up by DeSclafani this season, a career high.
DeSclafani started the sixth but we removed after giving up back-to-back singles to Gonzalez and pitcher Brault.
Robert Stephenson replaced DeSclafani and a run scored when Peraza snagged a soft liner hit by Gonzalez then threw wildly to first base attempting a double play. That tied it, 4-4.
All that did was set up the Pittsburgh plunder, another loss in PNC Park this one a very rude one.