Barnhart’s Homer Helps Power Reds Past Pirates

The Cincinnati Reds got back to their winning ways with a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds were able to power their way past the Pirates for a 3-2 victory. Three solo shots helped Cincinnati get back in the left column. The bullpen showed up and was able to provide the relief needed to shut Pittsburgh down.

The winning homer came from the bat of catcher Tucker Barnhart. Last minute heroics are usually the job of the Reds’ big name players, but the dinger helped the Reds snap a two-game losing streak. Barnhart went deep, from the right-handed batting position, surprising himself and his teammates.

“That’s not my game,” Barnhart proudly gushed, via the Cincinnati Reds website. “I don’t hit homers, but I was lucky enough to square up a ball, and it was big time for us. Thankfully, it held up.”

There was some doubt as to whether the ball had left the park or needed fan assistance to reach the seats. After a review by the crew chief, it was confirmed that there was no fan interference. The home run was Barnhart’s first in almost a year. His last four-bagger was May 27, 2015, against the Colorado Rockies.

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The blast was homer number five of Barnhart’s major league career. As a switch-hitter, it was his first from the right-handed stance.

“I hit one in Spring Training, and that was the first right-handed homer as a professional baseball player. Obviously tonight was my first one in the big leagues, pretty special. I’ve been working really hard to be in a good position to hit, and it’s working out so far.”

The Reds will gladly welcome Barnhart’s power. Regular catcher Devin Mesoraco will be out for a while after opting for surgery on his shoulder.

Barnhart's Homer
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]

In the top of the sixth inning, the Pirates had taken a 2-1 lead against Reds starter Dan Straily. In the bottom of the frame, Joey Votto lifted a one-out bomb to left field to tie the game. That set the stage for Barnhart to win the game later.

Per the Cincinnati Enquirer, it was the eighth quality start in the Reds’ last 13 games. Due to the ineffectiveness of the bullpen, the starters have gone 3-3 over the span with a 3.44 ERA.

Zack Cozart began the Reds power flexing in the bottom of the first inning. Pirates’ starter Jonathon Niese surrendered all three home runs. It was the fourth time this year he’s given up multiple dingers. Cozart homered for the second time to stake the Reds to an early lead.

Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton was caught stealing. In his games against the Pirates, Hamilton has 33 steals. That number is the most against any team. He’s been able to run wild on Pittsburgh. But Francisco Cervelli gunned the speedster down in his only steal attempt. Hamilton’s trade-off was 3-for-4 night at the plate.

Barnhart's Homer
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]

The Reds bullpen was able to save the day. Going into the ninth inning, Tony Cingrani was given the ball. He made the situation more dramatic than it needed to be, but he was able to hold it down for the Reds win.

Reds manager Bryan Price hasn’t defined anyone as the closer of the bullpen. Cingrani picked up his second save and looked decent in the process.

“It’s pitching. It’s not any different than the first three outs,” Cingrani said. “It’s just a little more pressure.”

J.J. Hoover was slated to be the Reds closer this season. Amid struggles, Hoover was demoted to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday. Cincinnati has been without a definite closer since the departure of Aroldis Chapman.

The Redlegs will try to win the series when they battle the Pirates Tuesday night.

[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]