The Reds nearly sailed off to Chicago with a series victory.
Then the Pirates captured the final win.
The Cincinnati Reds split a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend, and if not for the ninth inning Sunday they would have won their first series since winning two of three against Milwaukee during the weekend of Aug. 7-9.
Raisel Iglesias worked out of a one-out jam in the bottom of the eighth but surrendered three consecutive singles in the final frame before a walk-off sacrifice fly to Erik Gonzalez turned a 2-1 save opportunity into a 3-2 loss.
Archie Bradley was warming in the bullpen as the Reds ran into trouble, but the recent acquisition was not brought in to close his second game in a row. In fact, Bradley pitched just one inning out of the four games played against the Pirates.
Amir Garrett has been the most dominant reliever in the Reds bullpen. The left-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last eight outings dating back to Aug. 11 against Kansas City. Garrett has struck out 11 batters, allowed only two hits, and walked just one.
Offensively, Eugenio Suarez was a bright spot. He produced his first-career three home run game on Saturday. Suarez went 4-12 against the Pirates with eight runs batted in and two walks – all of his hits were via the long ball.
Mike Moustakas saw action at first and second base against Pittsburgh as Joey Votto was the designated hitter during Sunday’s matinee. Moustakas picked up four hits over the weekend, including two doubles and a home run.
Cincinnati resumes play with a three-game series against the first-place Chicago Cubs later this week. The Cubs are coming off a five-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals in which they won two, including Monday’s ballgame.
The Reds and Cubs are separated by 5.5 games in the standings. The last series between the two teams featured high emotions, so there could be some extracurricular activities should the players decide to partake.
Ian Happ has been among the hottest Cubs batters of late. The University of Cincinnati alumnus held a six-game hitting streak from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 during which he collected 12 hits with six being home runs as well as driving in nine runs.
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