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07/02/08 12:17 AM ET
Reds fall to Pirates in extras
Multiple comebacks squandered in 11-inning loss
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- The Reds never once held a lead, got a lackluster outing from top pitcher Edinson Volquez and missed a bunch of key scoring chances. Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Pirates came after a wild 11 innings and featured two game-tying Reds comebacks. Late-inning theatrics certainly gave 19,345 fans at Great American Ball Park their money's worth, but early-inning misdeeds left the team feeling empty. "It was a well-fought game, [but] it was not a well-played game," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. The Reds, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, tied it in the bottom of the eighth and 10th innings as both sides combined to use 15 pitchers. David Weathers entered in the top of the 11th for Cincinnati but started out allowing three consecutive Pirates hits, including a leadoff double by pinch-hitter Xavier Nady. On Jack Wilson's low line drive to shallow right field, Ken Griffey Jr. ran in and made an attempt to catch it on a dive, but missed. The ball rolled to the wall for an RBI triple that scored the go-ahead run. "Griff made an unbelievable effort to get to it," Weathers said. "Sometimes, when you throw that kind of effort out that Griff did, you come up short on that play. But, man, that's the kind of effort you love to see." Nate McLouth made it a two-run game with an RBI single to left-center field. "You feel like if you give your guys a chance and put up zeroes, you're going to win the ballgame," said Weathers, who entered with a 1.17 ERA over his last eight appearances. "Unfortunately, I pitched terribly. That's what happens." Long out of the picture by the end of the game was Reds starter Edinson Volquez. With three earned runs allowed over 5 1/3 innings, Volquez couldn't provide a quality start for his second straight outing, after a streak of 12 quality starts in a row. The right-hander walked three and struck out two. Over his last two starts, Volquez has relinquished the Major League lead in ERA and strikeouts. His 2.24 ERA still leads the National League and his 113 strikeouts rank him second in the NL. The Reds' lineup didn't do Volquez many favors early. Jerry Hairston Jr. was left stranded at third base with one out in the first inning, but the biggest scoring chance was blown in the sixth. Cincinnati had the bases loaded with no outs against Pirates starter Zach Duke and managed only one run, on Brandon Phillips' fielder's-choice grounder. "In one-run games, there are a lot of little things most of the time that cause you to win or lose the game," Baker said. With a 3-for-5, four-RBI night, Phillips came up big twice in the late innings. After a Griffey one-out double and a 3-1 Cincinnati deficit, Phillips launched a two-run homer into the left-field seats off Damaso Marte to even the score. After the Pirates took the lead in the top of the 10th inning on Jason Michaels' RBI double off Jared Burton, Adam Dunn started the Reds' 10th with a line-drive double to right field off of Pittsburgh closer Matt Capps. Griffey, who hit a walk-off winner with a homer off Capps on Monday, just missed this time, flying out just short of the center-field warning track. Phillips hit a soft grounder to third base that took a funny hop past Jose Bautista and scored pinch-runner Corey Patterson. Phillips was thrown out hustling to second base, but Capps (2-3) had his second blown save in as many nights. After Weathers gave up two in the top of the 10th, the Reds still had another chance to win. Jay Bruce hit a leadoff single off freshly called-up reliever Romulo Sanchez. With two outs, pinch-hitter Norris Hopper worked a walk, and Hairston hit an RBI single to center field to make it a one-run game with two outs and runners on the corners. Patterson's fly out to left field ended the last bid for comeback No. 3. The Reds' stranded nine baserunners while going 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position. "Especially against these guys, almost every day we have a runner on third, less than two outs and things come back to haunt you when you don't pick them up," Baker said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.