Reds, Pirates home run derby suspended
CINCINNATI — The Reds and Pirates decided to preview the 2015 All-Star game home run derby contest at Great American Ball Park Monday night.
Mother Nature decided to put a halt to things midway through the festivities.
The two teams hit a combined 10 home runs in six innings before umpires suspended play at 9:19 p.m. because of heavy rains with the score tied 7-7. They eventually called it a night one hour and 38 minutes later as it became obvious that the weather wasn’t going to get any better and player safety on the water-logged field would have been jeopardized.
The game will resume at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday prior to the start of the regularly scheduled game at 7:10 p.m. Pittsburgh will have Travis Snider, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez due up in the top of the seventh against a yet-to-be-named Cincinnati reliever. Logan Ondrusek had been warming up for the Reds in the sixth inning but manager Bryan Price would not divulge who his pitcher will be.
"It made for a fascinating six innings, that’s for sure," said Price. "It got to the point where they were taking advantage of some elevation mistakes and just weren’t missing them. We weren’t either. Neither team was. Each team was making an inordinate amount of mistakes for these two pitching staffs. Both teams were taking advantage of a lot of mistakes."
Fascinating is one way to describe what happened in the first matchup of the season between last year’s National League wild card teams.
The 10 home runs are the most ever hit in a single game at GABP, breaking the previous record of nine set in 2012. The Pirates three times hit back-to-back home runs, twice by second baseman Neil Walker and first baseman Gaby Sanchez leading off innings, while the Reds got two-run homers from Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick and Joey Votto as well as a solo home run by Devin Mesoraco.
On Sunday the Reds broke out of a early season hitting slump with season highs in hits and runs in a 12-4 win against Tampa Bay.
It is the first time since June 18, 2006, that at least 10 home runs have been hit in a MLB game. Detroit (8) and the Chicago Cubs (3) combined for 11 homers at Wrigley Field that day.
The Reds and Colorado combined to hit nine home runs, all solo shots, in a 5-4 win by the Rockies on May 27, 2012, for the previous GABP record.
Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey gave up four of the Pittsburgh homers in his five innings of work, while Pirates’ starter Wandy Rodriguez gave up all three of Cincinnati’s two-run homers.
"I’m not catching any breaks and I’m making some bad pitches," said Bailey, who has an ERA of 8.16 in his first three starts of the season. "Every time I make a bad (pitch), they’re making me pay for it."
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a lead-off double by Starling Marte and RBI single by Andrew McCutchen. Home runs accounted for the remainder of the scoring.
Frazier gave the Reds a 2-1 lead with his third home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning, a blast off the batter’s eye in center field. Walker and Sanchez went back-to-back for the first time leading off the second inning.
Ludwick hit his second homer of the season in the fourth inning with Frazier on board for a 4-3 Cincinnati lead. Frazier was on second after a successful replay challenge by Price. Snider misplayed a fly ball along the right field line as the ball went off his face as Snider slid for the catch. Replays showed the ball was fair and not foul as originally called by first base umpire Brian Knight.
Ludwick’s home run came off a changeup on a 3-2 count. Ludwick swung through a changeup the pitch beforehand. He missed none of his home run, which went 431 feet to straight-away center field.
"I’m not expecting anything right now, I’m just trying to react," said Ludwick. "My rhythm, my timing is still kind of sub-par. In BP (batting practice) I’m good at times, I’m bad at times. I’m a feel hitter. Always have been. Sometimes I look really good up there, sometimes I look really bad."
It was a short-lived read as Marte and Snider led off the fifth inning with solo homers.
Neftali Soto got his first hit in the major leagues with a double down the third base line pinch-hitting for Bailey in the fifth. Two batters later, Votto drove the first pitch he saw from Rodriguez into the Moon Deck in right field for his third home run in the last four games and a 6-5 lead. Votto is hitting .357 (20-56) lifetime against the left-handed Rodriguez with eight extra base hits.
J.J. Hoover replaced Bailey in the sixth inning but it took just three pitches for Walker and Sanchez to regain the lead for the Pirates.
Mesoraco hit a two-out solo home run off of Pittsburgh reliever Bryan Morris in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the score, 7-7. It was Mesoraco’s third home run of the season. He has had an extra base hit in all five games he’s played this season.
Pittsburgh has hit 15 home runs in its last four games at GABP, including 14 in the last three, dating back to a three-game sweep of the Reds in last season’s final series, Sept. 27-29.
The six home runs hit by Pittsburgh matches the most ever hit by an opponent. The Pirates also hit six last year on Sept. 28. Colorado hit six last year on June 5, and Milwaukee had six on Sept. 9, 2007.
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