CINCINNATI – A Reds team that hadn’t pulled off a big comeback all season now has two in one week. And it’s been some kind of week.
Two starters got hurt, three infielders went on the disabled list, and the wins kept coming.
Brayan Pena’s pinch-hit single in the eighth inning completed another late rally by the Reds, who overcame more injuries Friday and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 to keep their momentum going toward the All-Star break.
This is a huge victory for us, Pena said. This is the kind of victory that shows what we can do. When we got behind, everybody kept pushing each other.
Down 5-1 after six innings, the Reds scored twice with the help of third baseman Pedro Alvarez’s throwing error in the seventh and added three more in the eighth. Cincinnati is 7-2 on its 11-game homestand leading into the break.
Devin Mesoraco homered with two outs off left-hander Tony Watson (5-1) in the eighth, and the Reds put together four more singles, with RBI hits by Ramon Santiago and Pena completing Cincinnati’s second big comeback of the week. Cincinnati overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Cubs in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday.
Watson came in with a 0.84 ERA having allowed only one homer and four earned runs all season.
I don’t want to say it came out of nowhere, but to come back from two outs and nobody on against a Tony Watson who’s throwing missiles, I can’t say enough, manager Bryan Price said.
Curtis Partch (1-0), called up earlier in the day, escaped a bases-loaded threat in the eighth.
Aroldis Chapman fanned the side in the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances. He has at least one strikeout in his last 40 appearances, passing Bruce Sutter for the record by a major league reliever since 1900.
Andrew McCutchen and Alvarez homered for a 4-0 lead off Cincinnati’s Mat Latos, who left after only five innings because of back spasms. It was the shortest of his six starts since returning from torn knee cartilage and a strained pitching forearm.