Red Hot Reds Sweep Pirates

Bucs outscored 30-8 during series

Pittsburgh Pirates' starting pitcher Chad Kuhl (39) pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

CINCINNATI (AP) — The names might not ring out like Rose, Morgan, Bench and the Big Red Machine.

But Tyler Naquin, Nick Castellanos, Jonathan India and these Cincinnati Reds are breaking loose for runs in bunches.

Naquin hit another leadoff homer and the high-scoring Reds kept rolling, backing Luis Castillo to rout the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-4 Wednesday for their fifth straight win.

Coming off their first playoff appearance in seven years, the Reds have started a season 5-1 for the first time since 2016.

“The determination to win games is there,” Reds manager David Bell said. “And by no means do I sense any sort of letup. Guys are way too smart for that. They know what’s ahead of us.”

Their 56 runs are the most in Reds franchise history through the first six games of a season. The 1976 team with Morgan, Rose, Bench and Tony Perez scored 51 en route to a second straight World Series championship.

The Pirates absorbed the brunt of Cincinnati’s rampage this week, outscored 30-8 in the three-game series sweep.

“We’re definitely ready to get out of Cincinnati,” manager Derek Shelton said.

Naquin jumped on Chad Kuhl’s first pitch for his second career leadoff home run, and second in as many days. He became the first Reds batter with leadoff home runs in consecutive appearances since Eddie Milner on June 24-25, 1984.

A day after hitting two homers and driving in seven runs, Naquin started the Reds toward another romp by keying a five-run first inning.

“I’m really happy for Tyler,” Bell said. “He’s getting some opportunities here early and he’s absolutely made the most of it and been a big part our first week.”

Castellanos homered in the fifth. Tyler Stephenson and Aristides Aquino hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth.

Castillo (1-1) neatly bounced back after allowing a career-high 10 runs on opening day to St. Louis. He shut out the Pirates on four hits for seven innings, striking out five and walking one.

“The catcher was calling my changeup, and it was working today,” Castillo said. “It is my second-best pitch. I didn’t (need to) throw my slider.”

Erik Gonzalez hit his first career grand slam in the Pirates ninth off Amir Garrett.

Kyle Farmer’s two-run double capped the big first off Kuhl (0-1).

“It starts with the energy in the clubhouse,” Farmer said. “Guys are hot right now. When everything is rolling well, hitting is contagious. So it just keeps rolling, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.”


Reds rookie second baseman Jonathan India drove in three runs on Wednesday, giving him 10 RBIs in his first six games. India is batting .476. He also threw a runner out at the plate.

“I’m confident out here,” he said. “No nerves. I’m just playing the game I know how to play. This is my dream. It’s everything I expected and more.” India’s two-run double in the fifth came after he was hit in the helmet by a Kuhl pitch in the third. “I wasn’t dazed at all,” India said.


The Pirates mercifully return home to PNC Park to begin a seven-game homestand after dropping five of six on the road to begin the season. “We just need to flush these games away,” Shelton said. “(The Reds) just banged on us, hit the ball out of the ballpark. We’re ready to go home.”


Reds: OF Jesse Winker, who hasn’t played since leaving Saturday’s game due to a flu-like illness, resumed baseball activity on Wednesday and could return to the lineup on Friday. Winker hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19. “It wiped him out a little bit,” Bell said.


Pirates: Play their home opener on Thursday against the Cubs with LHP Tyler Anderson making his second start of the season against Chicago. He struck out seven but took the loss on Saturday after allowing three runs over five innings.

Reds: Begin their first road trip of the season on Friday in Arizona. RHP Tyler Mahle looks for his second win of the season after allowing two earned runs through five innings in Saturday’s 9-6 win over the Cardinals.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Atlanta pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval drove a two-run homer to the deepest part of the ballpark off a Washington reliever who took over after Stephen Strasburg’s six scoreless innings, lifting the Braves to a victory over the Nationals and a doubleheader sweep.

Sandoval drove a 96 mph fastball from Tanner Rainey (0-1) more than 400 feet following Dansby Swanson’s two-out single in the seventh and final inning.

Luke Jackson (1-0) earned the win in Game 2, and Sean Newcomb got three strikeouts for the save.

Ronald Acuna Jr. doubled and had a pair of singles as Atlanta won the opener 7-6.

The Braves put up five runs in the second inning off Erick Fedde (0-1), then wound up barely holding on with a save by Will Smith. Andrew Stevenson grounded into a game-ending double play.

Josh Tomlin (1-0) pitched two hitless innings.

Washington is missing nine players because of a coronavirus outbreak that led to the postponement of the team’s first four games. Four players tested positive for COVID-19, and another five who would have been on the 26-man roster are under quarantine.


BOSTON (AP) — Christian Vazquez homered, Xander Bogaerts had three hits and J.D. Martinez went for extra bases for the seventh game in a row as Boston completed a three-game sweep.

Nathan Eovaldi (1-1) allowed one run, three hits and three walks over seven innings with seven strikeouts. The Red Sox, swept by lowly Baltimore in their opening series over the weekend, beat the defending AL champion Rays in three straight by a combined 26-9.

Ryan Yarbrough (0-1), who pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings in his first outing this season, added three more scoreless before Bogaerts singled in a run and scored on Vazquez’s line drive over the Green Monster in the fourth.


CLEVELAND (AP) — Jose Ramirez’s second two-run homer of the game snapped a tie in the eighth against Greg Holland (0-1).

Shane Bieber struck out 12 for the second straight game, allowing two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. Emmanuel Clase (1-0) pitched the eighth — all nine of his fastballs were over 100 mph — and Nick Wittgren worked the ninth for his first save since Sept. 4, 2019.

Salvador Perez homered for the Royals.


DETROIT (AP) — Jorge Polanco hit a two-run double in the sixth.

Kenta Maeda (1-0) pitched six mostly strong innings, allowing two runs and seven hits, and Alex Colome pitched two innings for his second save.

Akil Baddoo hit an RBI triple and threw a runner out from left field — another impressive day in this stellar start to his big league career. Matthew Boyd (1-1) allowed three runs in seven innings.


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kyle Gibson (1-0) struck out eight and allowed six hits over six scoreless innings. Ian Kennedy, the third Texas reliever, struck out three around a hit in the ninth for his second save, both in less than 24 hours.

Nick Solak homered off left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (0-1), who struck out seven without a walk over seven innings.

Marcus Semien hit his third homer for the Blue Jays, a leadoff shot in the eighth.


CHICAGO (AP) — Lorenzo Cain hit his second homer of the game, a three-run shot in the 10th off Brandon Workman (0-1). Cain also hit a solo homer in the eighth.

Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff had a no-hit bid going until Ian Happ led off the seventh with a clean single.

Joc Pederson hit his first home run for the Cubs, a tying drive in the eighth.

Josh Hader (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mitch Moreland hit an RBI single off Jimmy Nelson (0-1) with one out in the 10th, and the Athletics got their first win after coming within one loss of what would have been its first 0-7 start.

Oakland tied it in the ninth off Kenley Jansen when Matt Chapman scored on Elvis Andrus’ sacrifice fly. Chapman also hit a solo homer earlier in the game.

Yusmerio Petit (1-0) pitched a scoreless 10th.

Trevor Bauer allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out 10 for the second straight start.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Alex Dickerson scored on Donovan Solano’s sacrifice fly in the 10th off Tim Hill (0-1) .

San Diego’s Jurickson Profar reached third in the 10th on Kim Ha-seong’s grounder before Wandy Peralta struck out Jorge Mateo and got rookie Tucupita Marcano to fly out to end it for his first career save.

San Diego’s Wil Myers tied the game at 2 with a homer in the eighth off Tyler Rogers (1-0).


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Alec Bohm and J.T. Realmuto each hit a three-run homer, Rhys Hoskins had a solo shot and Philadelphia took two of three from a division rival after opening with a three-game sweep of three-time defending NL East champion Atlanta.

Connor Brogdon (3-0) got five outs to earn his third win in six games.

Mets starter David Peterson (0-1) surrendered six runs and seven hits in four innings.


MIAMI (AP) — Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer and Dylan Carlson added a grand slam as St. Louis finished a three-game sweep that dropped the Marlins to 1-5 for the first time since 2015.

Jack Flaherty (1-0) allowed one hit in six innings, a leadoff single by Corey Dickerson. Genesis Cabrera and Jordan Hicks finished the three-hitter.

Pablo Lopez (0-1) allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings.


SEATTLE (AP) — Kyle Seager slapped an opposite-field, bases clearing double for the big blow in Seattle’s seven-run sixth inning, and the Mariners avoided a sweep.

Taylor Trammell, J.P. Crawford and Jose Marmolejos all had RBI singles in the inning, and Mitch Haniger added a sacrifice fly. Reliever Matt Foster (0-1) recorded just two outs, and allowed five hits and five earned runs before getting lifted.

Will Vest (1-0) allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings.


NEW YORK (AP) — Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander threw out Gio Urshela trying to score on a fly ball in the 11th for the final out.

Pinch-hitter Chance Sisco had a go-ahead single in the top of the inning off Chad Green (0-1). Baltimore was outhit 13-4.

Cesar Valdez (1-0), working primarily with a 76 mph changeup, pitched 2 1/3 innings, and Paul Fry got his first save.


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