McCoy: Fraley stays hot, Reds take series vs. Pirates

The two starting pitchers for Sunday afternoon’s Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game owned a combined 19 losses and neither had won a game since early June.

Reds left hander Mike Minor was 1-and-10 and Pirates right hander Zach Thomas was 3-and-9.

So something had to give .. and it did, for the Reds, 9-5 winners in PNC Park. The Reds took the series two games to one and avoided last place in the National League Central.

What mostly happened was another offensive symphony by Cincinnati’s Jake Fraley, another home run — his fourth in seven games — and three RBI. Mix in three walks and Fraley was on base five times.

While Thompson was a nine-game loser, one would never convince the Reds. He faced them twice earlier this season and gave up no runs and four hits in 11 innings.

Fraley, though, gave Thompson a quick hello by leading off the game with a home run into the right-field bleachers.

That 1-0 lead lasted only until the Pirates came to bat in the bottom of the first. They hit Minor hard — four hits for two runs. And the final two outs came when Greg Allen blistered a line drive with one out and runners on third and second.

Shortstop Matt Reynolds snagged the bullet and fired to third base for an inning-ending double play.

Fraley came to bat to lead off the third and Thompson remembered what happened in the first. He wanted no part of Fraley again and walked him on four pitches.

That turned into a major indiscretion when Mike Moustakas came to bat with two outs and deposited a two-run home run, a 407-foot rip that landed in the top row of the right-field bleachers.

It stayed 3-2 for the Reds until Fraley intervened again in the sixth. Relief pitcher Manny Banuelos walked the first two. Catcher Michael Papierski pushed a perfect sacrifice bunt.

That put runners on third and second with one out and Fraley at the plate. With first base open, the Pirates said no to an intentional walk. With two strikes, Fraley lined a two-run single off the top of the right-field wall for a 5-2 lead. A double by Jonathan India made it 6-2 and a single by Donovan Solano made it 7-2.

So Minor took a five-run lead into the bottom of the sixth, but he didn’t survive. He gave up singles to Ben Gamel and Allen and with two outs Tucupita Marcano doubled home two runs, cutting the lead to 7-4.

Ian Gibaut replaced Minor and Jason Delay singled home Pittsburgh’s fifth run.

Buck Farmer pitched the seventh and put down the Pirates in 1-2-3 order. He also retired two in the eighth and manager David Bell brought in Riever Sanmartin to get the final out.

The Reds struck again in the eighth for two runs. Relief pitcher Colin Holderman gave up a one-out walk to Fraley and hit India with a pitch, the 33rd time in his two-year career that he has been plunked.

Solano, who has reached base in 13 straight games, punched a run-scoring hit, his third hit of the game, for an 8-5 lead. Nick Senzel singled home another run, pushing it to 9-5.

After scoring 2.8 runs a game while losing eight of 10, the Reds scored 19 in the two wins over the Pirates.

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