(SportsNetwork.com) – There will be no rest for the weary on Thursday when the
Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates play the finale of their three-game
series at Great American Ball Park.
It wasn’t bad enough that the middle contest was delayed more than 2 1/2
hours, but the game went extra innings and took over four hours to complete.
Now almost 10 hours later the two teams will be back on the field, as the Reds
try to complete a three-game sweep.
Nobody was complaining about the short turnaround on the Reds, as Joey
Votto’s RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning carried Cincy to a 5-4 win
Radhames Liz (0-1) hit Zack Cozart with one away, Billy Hamilton walked with
two down and Votto ended the contest with a hit to right which plated Cozart.
“We were joking before the game, when you have a rain delay like this, of
course a game like this happens when you’re playing for like seems forever,”
Cozart said. “You want to come away with the win. You don’t want to stand out
there and play your butts off and walk off the field losing.”
J.J. Hoover (1-0) tossed two innings of scoreless relief for the Reds, who go
for the series sweep on Thursday afternoon. Votto drove in two, Todd Frazier
hit a homer and scored twice, while Brandon Phillips contributed an RBI
Cincy starter Mike Leake lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three
runs while walking six batters and striking out six.
Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Corey Hart and Francisco Cervelli knocked in a run
apiece for the Pirates. Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole worked five full
frames, giving up three runs on five hits while fanning six.
Now, with barely any sleep the Pirates will turn to right-hander A.J. Burnett,
who left money on the table this offseason to return to the Pirates.
Burnett pitched for the Pirates from 2012-13 and helped them to their first
winning season and playoff appearance since 1992. In those two seasons, he
compiled a 26-21 record, totaling 393 1/3 innings over 61 starts. He struck
out 389 batters in that span and led the National League in strikeouts per
nine innings in 2013.
It was his leadership, though, that was missed most a year ago when he
pitched for the Phillies. Burnett made a league-high 34 starts for the Phils,
but also lost a league-high 18 games.
Burnett did not face the Reds with the Phillies last season, but was 5-3 with
65 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings against them with the Pirates in 2012-13.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, will counter with righty Anthony DeSclafani, who came
to the Reds from Miami this winter as part of the Mat Latos deal. DeSclafini
appeared in 13 games (5 starts) last season for the Marlins and was 2-2 with a
Pittsburgh hasn’t dropped three straight to open a season since opening the
2006 campaign with six consecutive losses.