PITTSBURGH -- The Reds took a two-run lead in the sixth inning Sunday afternoon and lost it in the seventh. They pulled ahead again in the eighth and let the Pirates tie it, then they repeated the cycle again in the ninth. Finally, after letting Pittsburgh come back and tie it in three straight innings, Cincinnati put away the game in the 11th inning, halting its six-game losing streak with a 6-5 win at PNC Park.
Left fielder Scott Schebler put the Reds ahead in the ninth, driving a double to the left-field wall off Arquimedes Caminero and scoring Adam Duvall. But like Cincinnati's advantages in the seventh and eighth innings, the lead wouldn't last. John Jaso homered off right-hander Ross Ohlendorf with two outs in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings.
"I've been kind of struggling at the plate, my at-bats have gotten better and opportunity presented itself," Schebler said. "I just happened to put a good swing on two balls today, and most of all we won and that's all the matters to me."
"We got in our way a couple different times, but we battled. Everybody kept playing," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We scored late. They scored late. Throwing punches at each other. They were able to throw one more than we were."
Ryan Vogelsong pitched a perfect 10th inning for the Pirates, but a pair of miscues in the outfield helped the Reds push the game-winning run across the plate in the 11th. Eugenio Suarez led off with a triple on a line drive that skipped past left fielder Starling Marte. Suarez scored on Schebler's double, which soared past right fielder Gregory Polanco's glove.
"There were some really good things that happened there," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Certainly some of the standout things were the big base hits, Cozart with the double and Schebler with two big hits and Suarez hitting the leadoff triple. Just so many good things."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED River ball: Leading off the fifth inning against Reds starter Tim Adleman, Polanco took two pitches then unleashed his lefty swing on a 92 mph cutter. The ball came off Polanco's bat at 106 mph, according to Statcast™, and cleared the right-field bleachers at PNC Park. Polanco's third homer of the year eventually bounced off the slope of the riverwalk beyond right field and into the Allegheny River, the first hit by Polanco to reach the water.
He knew it was gone when it came off his bat but didn't learn its final destination until after the game.
"It was a good swing," Polanco said. "I didn't miss it."
Finally some offense: The Reds broke through against Pirates lefty Jeff Locke in the sixth, taking a 3-1 lead. Key blows were an RBI single by Joey Votto and a two-run double by Jay Bruce. The Reds could have had more, but Tucker Barnhart was thrown out at third base and Brandon Phillips at home plate in the inning.
Nice debut: The Reds got an outstanding spot start fron Adleman, a 28-year-old rookie making his Major League debut. He tossed six-plus innings and gave up two runs on three hits with six strikeouts. Adleman found out he was starting on Saturday night in place of Raisel Iglesias, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an impingement in his right shoulder.
"It was great," Adleman said. "Obviously, it was a dream come true. I just wanted to go out there and try to slow things down, make pitches and give the team a chance to win, and fortunately, I was able to do that." More >
In a pinch:Matt Joyce tied the game at 3 in the seventh inning with a pinch-hit, bloop single to shallow center field. Joyce's base hit drove in Sean Rodriguez, who tripled in Marte to pull the Bucs within a run. It was Joyce's Major League-leading sixth RBI as a pinch-hitter.
"He can hit," Hurdle said. "He stays ready. Part of it is the acceptance of the opportunity right now where he is. He's hunting those at-bats. He's looking forward to those at-bats."
"He pitched a great game. It's unfortunate we couldn't get the win for him." -- Pirates catcher Chris Stewart, on Locke, who held the Reds to three runs over seven innings
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Polanco's fifth-inning blast was the 39th home run to reach the Allegheny River, and he became the 26th different player to send a ball into the water. The last Pirate to homer into the river was Pedro Alvarez, who did so twice last season -- once into a boat on May 19, then off the bounce on July 24.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds:The Reds open a three-game series in Cincinnati on Monday against the Giants at 7:10 p.m. ET. Lefty Brandon Finnegan (1-1, 3.86 ERA) will start for the Reds against former Reds ace right-hander Johnny Cueto, who was traded to Kansas City last July 26 before signing with San Francisco in the offseason. It is Finnegan's first career start against the Giants, and the first time Cueto has opposed the Reds.
Pirates: The Pirates and Cubs will meet Monday for the first time since Chicago won the National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park on Oct. 7. Fittingly, right-hander Gerrit Cole -- who lost the Wild Card Game to Jake Arrieta -- will be on the mound for the 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch. That loss aside, Cole is 7-1 with a 2.88 ERA in nine career starts against the Cubs. It won't be a true Wild Card rematch, as right-hander Jason Hammel will start opposite Cole.