|Pittsburgh (58-72) «||1||0||0||4||1||0||0||0||x||6||11||1|
PITTSBURGH -- The Cincinnati Reds' August burst was beginning to cause a stir in the NL Central. What may have been overlooked was their NL Central rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates, have been nearly as hot.
Freddy Sanchez kept his sizzling August going with a grand slam and five RBI, and the Pirates ended the Reds' six-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory Tuesday in a doubleheader opener.
Tom Gorzelanny (13-7) gave up four runs in six innings but still got his fourth victory in five starts as Pittsburgh won for the ninth time in 12 games. Gorzelanny went 4-1 in August and has the most wins by a Pirates left-hander since Denny Neagle was 14-6 in 1996.
"We don't want to lose any games, but it's bound to happen," Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "We were seemingly listless at the beginning, but it always looks that way when you're not getting hits or runs, especially with a guy like Gorzelanny. But we got right back in it."
Gorzelanny was lifted during a two-run seventh in which John Grabow came in to get the final two outs. Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 16 opportunities, striking out pinch-hitter Adam Dunn to end the game with runners at the corners.
"We told him there, with only David Ross left on their bench, to throw 0-and-2 pitches from the get-go," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said, meaning that Capps should work out of the strike zone. "You don't want him to beat you right here."
Dunn had seven homers in his first 12 games against Pittsburgh this season, but left two on base as the Reds stranded 13.
"We had a guy out there with a chance to put us ahead," Mackanin said.
Sanchez, last year's NL batting champion at .344, went 3-for-3 to jump his average to .311 -- the highest it has been all year. He is 42-for-110 (.382) this month, with hits in 10 of his last 11 games, and he has nine of his 11 homers since the All-Star break.
"Freddy's done everything we expected and more," Tracy said.
No wonder the Pirates are 16-10 this month, matching Boston for the most wins in the majors in August. The Pirates haven't won so many games in a month since they were 17-10 in May 2004. The Reds are 15-9 this month.
Jason Bay also hit a solo shot for the Pirates, off Elizardo Ramirez (0-2) in the fifth. The Pirates' 43 homers in August match the club's record for any month, set in August 1947, when Hall of Famers Ralph Kiner and Hank Greenberg were in the middle of their order.
Sanchez made it 1-0 when he singled in a run during the first. His grand slam, the second of his career, came after Ronny Paulino and the weak-hitting Gorzelanny singled and Jose Bautista walked to load the bases against Ramirez. Sanchez's five RBI matched his career high, set Aug. 11 at San Francisco.
"One bad inning and one pitch, he (Ramirez) gave Freddy Sanchez too good a pitch," Mackanin said. "You don't expect a grand slam from Freddy to dead center. I know he can turn on a ball, but he got into that one pretty well."
The Reds had made up 10½ games in the standings since July 2 under Mackanin, closing within 6½ games of the NL Central-leading Chicago going into the doubleheader. Maybe they took some inspiration from the 1973 Mets who, on the same date 34 years before, were in last place with a near-identical record to the Reds' 60-71 but went on to win the division and the NLCS -- beating heavily favored Cincinnati -- and reach Game 7 of the World Series.
But while the Reds have been the NL's hottest team since hiring Mackanin, who was Pittsburgh's interim manager late in the 2005 season, the Pirates have been surging, too, though they remain so far down in the NL Central standings that their flurry hasn't been noticed like Cincinnati's. The Pirates were coming off a 5-2 road trip to Colorado and Houston in which they blew a 4-1 lead Sunday in losing to the Astros 5-4, preventing a sweep.
|Bucs reliever Matt Capps closes the game by fanning Adam Dunn with two runners on. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Norris Hopper, CF||5||0||2||0||0||0||2||.314|
|Jeff Keppinger, SS||4||1||1||1||1||0||1||.364|
|Ken Griffey Jr., RF||5||1||2||0||0||3||2||.284|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||5||0||2||1||0||0||3||.285|
|Jorge Cantu, 1B||3||1||2||1||0||0||2||.257|
|a- Scott Hatteberg, PH-1B||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.303|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||5||0||2||1||0||1||1||.276|
|Javier Valentin, C||4||0||1||0||1||1||3||.289|
|Jason Ellison, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||.230|
|b- Adam Dunn, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.264|
|Elizardo Ramirez, P||2||1||1||0||0||0||3||.200|
|c- Alex Gonzalez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.261|
|Mike Gosling, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Gary Majewski, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|d- Josh Hamilton, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.285|
|Eddie Guardado, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Cantu in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Ellison in the 9th|
|c-struck out for Ramirez in the 6th|
|d-lined out for Majewski in the 8th|
|2B - Jeff Keppinger (12, Gorzelanny)|
|HR - Jorge Cantu (1, Gorzelanny)|
|RBI - Jeff Keppinger (23), Brandon Phillips (78), Jorge Cantu (8), Edwin Encarnacion (56)|
|Team LOB - 13|
|DP - Keppinger-B. Phillips-Hatteberg|
|E - Jeff Keppinger (2, Throwing)|
|Elizardo Ramirez (L,0-2)||5||9||6||6||3||5||2||7.71|
|Pitches-Strikes - Elizardo Ramirez 96-66, Mike Gosling 18-9, Gary Majewski 8-5, Eddie Guardado 18-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Elizardo Ramirez 5-5, Mike Gosling 2-1, Gary Majewski 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Elizardo Ramirez 27, Mike Gosling 4, Gary Majewski 3, Eddie Guardado 4|
|Nate McLouth, CF||4||1||1||0||1||0||1||.251|
|Jose Bautista, 3B||4||1||0||0||1||1||2||.259|
|Freddy Sanchez, 2B||3||1||3||5||1||0||0||.311|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||1||2||.267|
|Xavier Nady, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.293|
|Jason Bay, LF||4||1||2||1||0||0||4||.255|
|Ronny Paulino, C||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.249|
|Cesar Izturis, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.247|
|Tom Gorzelanny, P||3||1||1||0||0||1||1||.078|
|Franquelis Osoria, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|John Grabow, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Shawn Chacon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.273|
|Damaso Marte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Josh Phelps, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.331|
|Matt Capps, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|a-flied out for Marte in the 8th|
|HR - Freddy Sanchez (11, Ramirez), Jason Bay (20, Ramirez)|
|RBI - Freddy Sanchez 5 (66), Jason Bay (82)|
|2-OUT RBI - Freddy Sanchez 4 (24)|
|SB - Nate McLouth (13, 2nd base off Ramirez/Valentin)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Outfield Assists - Xavier Nady 1|
|E - Jose Bautista (13, Misplayed grounder)|
|Tom Gorzelanny (W,13-7)||6||8||4||4||2||3||1||3.50|
|John Grabow (H,8)||1.1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.56|
|Shawn Chacon (H,9)||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||4.15|
|Damaso Marte (H,12)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.03|
|Matt Capps (S,14)||1||2||0||0||0||2||0||2.12|
|HBP - Ellison (by Tom Gorzelanny)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 99-59, Franquelis Osoria 5-3, John Grabow 19-12, Shawn Chacon 5-4, Damaso Marte 5-3, Matt Capps 27-21|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 11-5, John Grabow 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 30, Franquelis Osoria 1, John Grabow 5, Shawn Chacon 2, Damaso Marte 1, Matt Capps 5|
|Attendance - 0|
|Game Time - 3:04|
|Temperature - 85|
|Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - John Hirschbeck|