There won’t be any Cincinnati Reds wearing “Vote For Pedro” t-shirts from the movie Napoleon Dynamite.
They might vote to run Pedro Alvarez out of town, but it’s too late. He’s gone. He and the Pittsburgh Pirates left Great American Ball Park Thursday with a 5-3 win.
Alvarez, Pittsburgh’s 26-year-old third baseman, drove in all five runs. The last three came on a bases-loaded double in the seventh inning against Tony Cingrani that broke a 2-2 tie.
As manager Dusty Baker put it, “Their Third Baseman 5, Us 3.”
So the Reds and Pirates were dormie — nothing gained, nothing lost between the two as they split the four-game series, and the Pirates remain a half-game behind the second-place Reds in the National League Central.
The Reds scored first against rookie Brandon Cumtpon when Shin-Soo Choo started the first by reaching on an error, stealing second and scoring on Joey Votto’s single.
Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey was reached for the run that tied it after there were two outs and nobody on via three straight hits, the last one a run-scoring single by Alvarez.
Jay Bruce, currently on a home run blitz, whacked his fifth home run in seven games in the sixth to push the Reds in front, 2-1.
Before Thursday’s game, Bailey was talking about the postage-stamp dimensions of Great American Ball Park.
During his previous start against Milwaukee, Bailey gave up a home run and said, “My first home run of the year at home. I’m sure it won’t be the last, though. How do I know? Time of year — hot and humid. When I hit one into the upper deck in batting practice it is time to get concerned.”
That concern arose in the sixth when Alvarez struck again, driving a home run into the right-field seats to tie it, 2-2.
“I made a real good pitch to Pedro and he hit it out. Tough,” said Bailey. “He had a great day.”
Bailey left after six innings, replaced by Alfredo Simon, and misery surfaced quickly. He loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk.
It began with a single by relief pitcher Bryan Morris, his first major-league hit.
“The big blow was that leadoff single to Morris,” said Baker. “We didn’t know if he could hit. But it surprises you when he comes through and gets a hit.”
After Morris singled, Starling Marte also singled. Jordy Mercer tried to bunt and popped up. Then Simon walked Andrew McCutchen to fill the bases for Alvarez and Baker said, “The other big play was walking McCutchen.”
Before the game, Baker said he wasn’t sure about using Tony Cingrani because he pitched Wednesday night and struck out the side, “but we don’t know if he can go on back-to-back days. He hasn’t done it.”
But with back-to-back left-handers coming up, Baker brought in left-hander Cingrani and he struck out left-handed Garrett Jones. All he had to do was retire another left-hander. Alvarez.
Didn’t happen. He pulled one into the right-field corner, cleaning off the bases and pushing the Pirates in front, 5-2.
“Cingrani said he felt fine today and (left-hander) Manny Parra said he didn’t,” said Baker. “He was a little sore. It was just a matter of him making a pitch up when he wanted to go down and away to a hitter who is hot today — the hot hitter of the day.”
Bailey wasn’t well-armed for this one. His only effective pitch was his fastball.
“We were just working with fastball and that drove up my pitch count with their foul balls and grinding out at-bats,” said Bailey “For only having one pitch, we kept them at bay. It was pretty good to go four innings with just a fastball. My pitch count went up way too high (113 in six innings).”
So the Reds stuffed clean laundry into their travel bags and headed west for three games in Arizona, two in Oakland and three in Texas — all three with winning records.