McCoy: Tecumseh grad Brubaker stymies Reds in 7-2 Pirates’ win

For one game, the Pittsburgh Pirates borrowed a line from the movie Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more.”

After losing eight straight games to the Cincinnati Reds, including the last three when the Reds scored 11 or more runs, the Pirates put a screeching halt to it Tuesday night in PNC Park.

The Pirates recorded a 7-2 victory and the major thorn in Cincinnati’s side was Tecumseh High School graduate JT Brubaker.

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Brubaker stifled the Reds on one run and five hits over six innings and and was lifted despite throwing only 81 pitches. And he had retired 11 of the last 12 Reds he faced. But he was rewarded with the win and is 3-2 with a 2.58 earned run average.

And once again, after reaching .500, the Reds failed to scramble above the break-even mark and fell to 15-16.

Brubaker, a product of the University of Akron, made one mistake and it landed on hop into the Monongahela River, a long home run by Jesse Winker in the third inning. That tied the game, 1-1, because Reds starter Jeff Hoffman wild-pitched a run home in the first inning.

Despite his long home run and a double off Brubaker, Winker was loaded with full-blown praise for Brubaker.

“Brubaker pitched really well … again,” said Winker. “He has really good stuff, man, he’s tough. He is very, very tough.”

Reds manager David Bell also was duly impressed by Brubaker.

“He was really good,” said Bell. “You know what our offense has been able to do and he did a really good job. He located his fast ball really well. Other than Winker and Nick Senzel, who had good nights, he was able to really shut down our lineup.”

The Pirates grabbed a 3-1 lead in the fourth when Hoffman hit Ka’ai Tom with a pitch and he scored on Kevin Newman’s triple. A run-scoring single by Troy Stokes, Jr. made it 3-1. It was Stokes first career hit in his third major league game.

Ryan Hendrix took the mound for the Reds in the fifth and gave up a leadoff walk to Bryan Reynolds and he scored from first on a double by Phillip Evans to make it 4-1.

Some bad base-running by Winker in the eighth interrupted a possible rally. Senzel opened the inning with a single that ricocheted off the first base bag into right field, his third hit.

Winker drove one into the left field gap and Senzel ran through a stop sign at third base and scored. But Winker was caught trying to take third and was out by the distance between PNC Park to the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

End of rally.

“It was just a really, really, really bad play by me,” said Winker. “It’s inexcusable. I can’t take it back now. If I’m put in that situation again, I don’t know how many times, I’d stay at second. It was just overly aggressive in a time when it wasn’t necessary.

“I know the old adage in baseball that you don’t make the first and third outs at third base,” he added. “And that’s especially when you are down two in the eighth inning. Just a bad baseball play by me.”

The Pirates added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth against former teammate Carson Fulmer. Tom singled and scored on a double by Stokes, his second major league hit, and it was 5-2.

They doubled their insurance policy when Adam Frazier, owner of a 12-game hitting streak, crushed a two-run home run off Sean Doolittle, upping the ante to 7-2. It was Frazier’s first home run of the season … and Pittsburgh’s first win over the Reds in nine games.

The Reds had eight hits, six by the first two batters in the order, three each by Senzel and Winker.

Since moving into the leadoff spot, Senzel has been Senzational and Winker, batting behind him, is most appreciative.

“He looks great at the plate and he looks great at second base, making some unbelievable plays,” said Winker. “Honestly, he is one of the best athletes I’ve ever played with. He is an unbelievable talent. It has been a ton of fun hitting behind him. He is a great at bat, hits the ball hard, his line drives all over the field.”

Pitcher Amir Garrett was not available. He began serving his five-game suspension, reduced from the original seven games on his appeal.

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