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Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

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Cincinnati (77-82) «1200020005111
Pittsburgh (71-88)030000001441

Reds 5, Pirates 4

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PITTSBURGH -- Dontrelle Willis took matters into his own hands to break loose after three months of frustration and end 2011 on a high note.

The veteran left-hander scattered three hits over six innings and smacked a two-run double to lead the Cincinnati Reds past the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Sunday.

"The guys really battled for me today," Willis said. "They knew it was my last start and the way I pitched poorly the last start I wanted to finish the season with confidence. We went out there and played a good game."

Willis (1-6) gave up three runs, walked two and struck out six to collect his first victory in the majors since beating the Colorado Rockies while pitching for Arizona on June 5, 2010.

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The road back to the win column has been bumpy. Willis pitched well enough in Triple-A Louisville to earn a callup from the Reds in July. He impressed early on but was undone by a bullpen that blew three saves in his first five starts.

On his 13th and final start of the year it nearly happened again.

Francisco Cordero gave up a run-scoring double to Neil Walker with one out in the ninth before retiring the next two batters for his 35th save.

The Reds gave Willis the customary beer shower postgame after the 29-year-old battled through cramps and shook off a rough second inning to help Cincinnati avoid a three-game sweep.

"I felt like I was playing good baseball up until my last start," Willis said. "Everybody's tired but everybody continues to push on."

Pittsburgh's Chase d'Arnaud had two hits, including a two-run triple, the Pirates couldn't send the largest crowd to see a home finale in PNC Park history into the offseason with a win.

"The finish today, we were one run short and that's the way it's been more often than not the last 50 games," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "I'm proud of the effort, but we've got to work on execution."

Daniel Moskos (1-1) took the loss in relief of starter James McDonald.

The former first-round pick allowed three consecutive hits in the sixth, the last one a double to right-field by Willis, one of the best-hitting pitchers in the game.

"That was a big two-run double," Baker said. "It was great to get him that first [win] because it was a long time coming for him."

Willis' only real trouble came in the second. A single by Derrek Lee, a walk to Ryan Ludwick and a couple of wild pitches put runners on second and third with one out. D'Arnaud, batting just .121 in 19 games since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 25, tripled to left-center then came home on Mike McKenry's sacrifice fly.

It's just about all the offense the Pirates would get, and Willis used his considerable skills at the plate to put the Reds back in front. He drilled an offering from Moskos in the sixth to pick up his third double of the season. He's hitting .400 (12 of 30) this year and could become the first pitcher since 16 years to hit at least .400 in a season. Allen Watson hit .417 (15 of 36) for St. Louis in 1996.

Jay Bruce and Chris Heisey had two hits apiece for the Reds.

The Pirates won the season series against the defending NL Central champions 10-5 but couldn't finish off their first three-game home sweep of the Reds since April 2010.

Pittsburgh made it interesting in the ninth. Andrew McCutchen led off with a walk and scored on Neil Walker's double. Cordero settled down to strike out Garrett Jones and got Pedro Alvarez to fly out to left to end it.

Notes

The Pirates drew 1.94 million for the season, the fourth-highest mark in team history. Pittsburgh finished the year 36-45 at home. ... Cincinnati finishes the season with a three-game set in New York beginning on Monday. Homer Bailey (9-7, 4.32 ERA) will start for the Reds while Chris Schwinden (0-2, 5.06 ERA) gets the nod for the Mets. ... Pittsburgh wraps up the year at NL Central winner Milwaukee. Charlie Morton (10-10, 3.67 ERA) will face Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.31 ERA).

 
Copyright 2014 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
Pittsburgh

C. D'Arnaud
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Cincinnati

D. Willis
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 3
BB 2
K 6
 
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brandon Phillips, 2B3111221 .301
Dave Sappelt, LF4000114 .238
    Drew Stubbs, CF0000000 .242
Joey Votto, 1B5010032 .312
Jay Bruce, RF5021000 .256
Chris Heisey, CF-LF4020112 .252
Juan Francisco, 3B5110013 .256
Devin Mesoraco, C4210011 .175
Paul Janish, SS3111000 .211
Dontrelle Willis, P3012001 .400
    Sam LeCure, P0000000 .111
   a- Yonder Alonso, PH1010000 .341
    Mike Leake, PR0000000 .204
    Aroldis Chapman, P0000000 .000
    Francisco Cordero, P0000000 .000
Totals37511549  
a-singled for LeCure in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jay Bruce (26, McDonald), Juan Francisco (6, McDonald), Paul Janish (14, Moskos), Dontrelle Willis (3, Moskos)
SF - Paul Janish (5)
RBI - Brandon Phillips (82), Jay Bruce (95), Paul Janish (23), Dontrelle Willis 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Phillips (25)
SB - Brandon Phillips (14, 2nd base off McDonald/McKenry)
CS - Joey Votto (6, 3rd base by McDonald/McKenry)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Aroldis Chapman (3, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dontrelle Willis (W,1-6) 6333260 5.00
Sam LeCure (H,5) 1000020 3.76
Aroldis Chapman (H,13) 1000110 3.67
Francisco Cordero (S,35) 1111120 2.53
WP - Dontrelle Willis 2 (8), Francisco Cordero (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 98-58, Sam LeCure 9-7, Aroldis Chapman 23-13, Francisco Cordero 25-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 2-9, Sam LeCure 1-0, Aroldis Chapman 1-1
Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 22, Sam LeCure 3, Aroldis Chapman 4, Francisco Cordero 5
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Presley, LF4000031 .286
Josh Harrison, 3B4000001 .274
Andrew McCutchen, CF2100200 .262
Derrek Lee, 1B4110022 .266
Neil Walker, 2B4011021 .271
Ryan Ludwick, RF2100110 .236
   a- Garrett Jones, PH1000011 .243
Chase D'Arnaud, SS3122000 .210
   b- Pedro Alvarez, PH1000001 .191
Michael McKenry, C1001100 .223
James McDonald, P1000010 .091
   c- Brandon Wood, PH1000010 .216
    Daniel Moskos, P0000000 .000
    Chris Leroux, P0000000 .000
    Evan Meek, P0000000 .000
    Daniel McCutchen, P0000000 .000
   d- Jason Jaramillo, PH1000001 .353
    Brian Burres, P0000000 .000
Totals29444411  
a-struck out for Ludwick in the 9th
b-flied out for D'Arnaud in the 9th
c-struck out for McDonald in the 5th
d-hit into fielder's choice for D. McCutchen in the 8th
Batting
2B - Neil Walker (32, Cordero)
3B - Chase D'Arnaud (2, Willis)
SF - Michael McKenry (2)
RBI - Neil Walker (82), Chase D'Arnaud 2 (5), Michael McKenry (11)
CS - Chase D'Arnaud (1, 2nd base by Willis/Mesoraco)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Josh Harrison (8, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James McDonald 5631240 4.21
Daniel Moskos (L,1-1) 0.1322000 3.04
Chris Leroux 0.2000020 2.92
Evan Meek 1100010 3.66
Daniel McCutchen 1100110 3.83
Brian Burres 1000110 3.75
Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 105-64, Daniel Moskos 14-10, Chris Leroux 11-7, Evan Meek 11-8, Daniel McCutchen 16-9, Brian Burres 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 4-7, Daniel Moskos 1-0, Evan Meek 1-1
Batters Faced - James McDonald 23, Daniel Moskos 4, Chris Leroux 2, Evan Meek 4, Daniel McCutchen 5, Brian Burres 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28758
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Lance Barrett, First Base - Chris Conroy, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Chris Guccione