Reds can't break through in 9th, lose to Pirates 5-4
CINCINNATI (AP) Starling Marte threw out Brandon Phillips at the plate for the second out in the ninth. Then he made a diving catch to end it.
Marte helped the Pirates' retooled bullpen hold on for a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night, Pittsburgh's first in five games at Great American Ball Park this season.
''In this case, we didn't beat ourselves,'' manager Bryan Price said. ''They went out and won the game.''
Andrew McCutchen hit yet another homer at GABP, connecting off Michael Lorenzen (3-6), and Jung Ho Kang had three doubles and drove in a run to support Jeff Locke (6-6). The left-hander lasted five innings and turned it over to the rebuilt bullpen.
That's when it got interesting.
Former Tigers closer Joakim Soria arrived a few hours before the game and slipped into his new role as setup man. He loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh - a pair of walks got him in trouble - but snagged Brayan Pena's liner over his head to end the threat.
''Survive!'' Soria said. ''See the ball and get the glove on it. It's never easy and sometimes you've got to react to the situation.''
Melancon needed Marte's help twice in the ninth to keep his club-record save streak intact - now 31 in a row.
He gave up a single to Phillips and walked Joey Votto with one out. Todd Frazier singled to left, but Marte nailed Phillips at the plate. Marte then made a diving catch of Marlon Byrd's liner, preserving Melancon's 33rd save in 34 chances overall.
''I saw the line drive was a little soft,'' Marte said. ''I told myself go 100 percent and dive and catch the ball. I knew I'd catch it.''
Before the game, Pittsburgh acquired left-handed starter J.A. Happ from Seattle on Friday as a stopgap with A.J. Burnett going on the disabled list. The Pirates also picked up infielder Michael Morse from Los Angeles, giving them a platoon option at first base to complement left-handed slugger Pedro Alvarez.
The next task: Finally win one in Cincinnati.
Locke gave up three runs in the second inning, highlighted by Ivan DeJesus Jr.'s two-run homer. McCutchen tied it 3-3 with his 15th homer off Lorenzen, who fell to 0-4 in his last six starts.
''It was a step in the right direction,'' Lorenzen said. ''You have to trust the process and try not to be too disappointed. I'm getting close.''
McCutchen also homered during the All-Star Game at GABP on July 14 and has eight homers in his last 23 games there.
Jumbo Diaz relieved Lorenzen with the bases loaded in the sixth and threw a wild pitch that let in the go-ahead run. Marte followed with an RBI single for a 5-3 lead.
Byrd hit a solo homer off Jared Hughes in the sixth.
Votto walked four times in a game for the second time in his career - he also did it against the Mets in 2013. In 15 games since the All-Star break he's batting .551 with four homers.
Pirates: Marte was hit on the left hand by a pitch in the second inning and remained doubled over in pain for several minutes before staying in the game. He was 1 for 4.
Reds: RF Jay Bruce got a day of rest.
Pirates: Gerrit Cole is 9-2 with a 2.15 ERA in his last 12 starts. He pitched one inning in relief during the All-Star Game at GABP on July 14.
Reds: Rookie Raisel Iglesias makes his fourth appearance since returning from a strained left oblique. He has never faced the Pirates.
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