Cingrani brings heat, earns second save vs. Bucs

Price hasn't 'defined a closer,' instead splitting duties with Ohlendorf

Cingrani brings heat, earns second save vs. Bucs

CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Bryan Price still wasn't ready to define a closer on Monday, but left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani sure fits the profile. Cingrani seems to thrive on the pressure, isn't afraid of big situations and, lately, has gotten the job done.

In the ninth inning of the Reds' 3-2 victory over the Pirates, Cingrani earned his second save in as many chances. Price essentially has a two-man closer-by-committee in Cingrani and right-hander Ross Ohlendorf.

"Really, I'm not trying to be coy, I'm really not," Price said. "It really comes down to if I have both Ohly and Tony for innings eight and nine, I will make a decision where they're best lined up to pitch, so I'm not losing Tony's ability to match up in the eighth with a lineup that might have some lefties they won't hit ... solely to give him the ninth inning.

"I haven't defined a closer, but I have kind of defined that when I have both of them healthy, the two guys that will be the most likely candidates to pitch innings eight and nine in no particular order."

Price on Reds' 3-2 win

Since Ohlendorf pitched two innings on Sunday, Cingrani was seemingly the lone candidate to finish on Monday.

"It's pitching. It's not any different than the first three outs," Cingrani said. "It's just a little more pressure."

The Reds have been without a closer since Aroldis Chapman's replacement, J.J. Hoover, was removed from the spot April 20 amid struggles. Hoover was demoted to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday.

Over his last four appearances, Cingrani has worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings with three hits allowed. On Monday, Jung Ho Kang led off the top of the ninth with a double to the gap in right-center field. Pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez moved to third base on a groundout.

With the infield playing in, Jordy Mercer hit a sharp grounder. Second baseman Brandon Phillips made a nice effort to knock Mercer's ball down and picked up the second out. Pinch-hitter David Freese ended the game with a flyout to Billy Hamilton in deep center field.

"It was all heaters. I didn't really work at-bats," Cingrani said. The max pitches I threw was three -- maybe four to Freese. It wasn't a good time to throw a slider."

All but one of the nine Cingrani fastballs were 94 miles per hour or above.

Cingrani, a former starting pitcher for the Reds, was a closer in college at Rice University. He doesn't mind pitching when the stakes are higher and there is a jam to escape.

"You step up your game to win," he said. "You don't want to lose. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have that."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.