Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reds 6, Pirates 5 Sloppy Defense Puts End to Streak Four Errors Negate Polanco, Jaso Homers

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reds 6, Pirates 5 Sloppy Defense Puts End to Streak Four Errors Negate Polanco, Jaso Homers

Article excerpt

Indefensible.

The final act in the Pirates' comedy of errors Sunday saw right fielder Gregory Polanco retreating to the warning track to fetch Scott Schebler's go-ahead double in the 11th inning of the Cincinnati Reds' 6-5 win in a series finale at PNC Park.

The official scorer ruled Polanco made no mistake on the play. That the baseball had zipped over his head, then, was merely a matter of improper positioning or poor route-running.

The loss, which spelled the end of a six-game winning streak, was marked by misplays and missed opportunities. Despite a pair of dramatic home runs - Polanco's plopped in the Allegheny River, and John Jaso's sent the game to extra innings - the typically sure-handed Pirates (15-10) committed four errors.

"We got in our own way a couple different times," manager Clint Hurdle said. "But we battled. Everybody kept playing. We scored late; they scored late. It was like throwing punches at each other, and they were able to throw one more than we were."

What was a 1-0 game after six innings turned into a pingpong match. The Reds (10-15) scored three times in the sixth, the Pirates twice in the seventh. They volleyed single runs back and forth in the eighth and ninth.

The winning run, Eugenio Suarez, landed on third base leading off the 11th because Starling Marte, the Gold Glove left fielder, committed too early to a do-or-die dive and missed Suarez's low line drive. Schebler read Ryan Vogelsong's curveball and stole back the lead.

Set up shallower than in years past, Polanco hesitated at Schebler's swing, the way he had in the eighth when he committed an error on a similar play, and again he realized the ball was over his head. He turned and ran to the wall.

"It just kept going up," Polanco said. "A day game, it's hard to read here."

Some misplays were forgotten. Left-hander Jeff Locke missed the bag when covering first, and Sean Rodriguez threw wildly to first. The other errors loomed large.

After Polanco's eighth-inning error, the Pirates played a delayed double-steal perfectly. With the trail runner in a rundown, Jordy Mercer fired home to get pinch-runner Tyler Holt. …

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