Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

W: M. Belisle (4-7) L: J. Grabow (2-3)
S: D. Weathers (12)
HR: PIT - None   CIN - J. LaRue (12)

Kearns, Reds rally past Bucs for back-to-back wins

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- Even with three hits in his last 26 at-bats, Austin Kearns figured he would get to the plate as a pinch hitter under the right circumstances Sunday.

The Cincinnati outfielder got his chance in the seventh inning and took advantage.

Kearns hit a two-run single off John Grabow to tie the game and Felipe Lopez delivered the go-ahead hit as the Reds came from behind to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3.

"I've kind of been battling," Kearns said. "Nothing major, I think. I just need to relax and get some good at-bats. If it was a close game, I figured I'd get in there. As the inning went, (interim manager Jerry Narron) told me I'd probably be hitting in the pitcher's spot."

Jason LaRue homered and Rich Aurilia added an RBI single in a five-run seventh inning that gave the Reds back-to-back wins for the first time since a four-game winning streak from Aug 25-28.

"We got some walks and some hits with runners in scoring position," Aurilia said. "Those are the little things you have to do. You're not always going to get the three-run homer."

LaRue broke up rookie Paul Maholm's shutout bid by hitting the first pitch of the seventh inning into the right-field bleachers for his 12th home run. After Edwin Encarnacion walked, Grabow (2-3) entered and gave up Chris Denorfia's double and Kearns' two-run single to tie it at 3.

Rick White relieved Grabow and, after hitting Ryan Freel, gave up consecutive run-scoring singles by Lopez and Aurilia. Mike Gonzalez came on for the Pirates to end the outburst.

"This is the effect of an overworked bullpen," Pittsburgh interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "I'm disappointed. I thought Grabow would do a good job. I let him face Kearns because he was 1-for-7 (in his career against Grabow), and I didn't want (left-handers Jacob) Cruz or (Sean) Casey to hit."

Maholm, in his third major-league start, limited the Reds to two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six-plus innings. He allowed just one runner past second base in the first six innings.

"I threw well, but it's still a bad feeling when your team doesn't come out on top," Maholm said. "I let them get the momentum back. I tried to get ahead of LaRue and left a pitch out over the plate. Then I tried to be too fine with (Encarnacion) and walked him."

Said Aurilia: "He's kind of sneaky. He throws across his body and he short-arms his pitches. You've got to feel him out. It took us a few times to get something going off of him."

Matt Belisle (4-7) earned the win in relief of Brandon Claussen. David Weathers pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 15 tries.

Claussen gave up only one run despite allowing baserunners in each of his six innings. He gave up five hits and four walks with three strikeouts in his third opportunity to become Cincinnati's first 10-game winner of the season. He is 0-2 in his last three starts after five consecutive wins.

The Pirates took the lead in the fourth. Brad Eldred had a two-out bloop single to center field and stole second before Ty Wigginton's double off the left-field wall.

Pittsburgh padded the lead in the seventh. Maholm drew a leadoff walk from Belisle and moved to second on Nate McLouth's single. McLouth was erased on Jack Wilson's fielder's choice, but Jason Bay drove in both runners with a double to the center-field warning track.


Bay's steal of second in the fifth inning was his 19th stolen base in 19 tries, two short of the NL record for most stolen bases without being caught. New York's Kevin McReynolds went 21-for-21 in 1988. ... Wigginton has 12 RBI in 15 games since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... McLouth's steal of second base in the third inning and Eldred's steal of second in the fourth were the first stolen bases of their careers. ... Denorfia got his first start in the majors. ... Kent Mercker's appearance was his 71st of the season for the Reds, tying the career high he set last season with the Cubs.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

J. LaRue
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

J. Bay
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

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Game Information
Attendance - 18529
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - John Hirschbeck, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Wally Bell