Johnny Cueto was disappointed he failed to become the Cincinnati Reds’ first 20-game winner in 24 years.
A late comeback guaranteed a pretty good consolation prize: home-field advantage for his team’s first playoff series.
Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul led off the ninth with a tying home run and Zack Cozart had a go-head double for the Reds, who clinched at least the NL’s No. 2 seed with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
“It was a big win for us because we want to get home-field advantage,” Cozart said. “It seems like we kind of lull through games a lot then turn it on at the end. That’s how it was today.”
The Reds pulled into a tie with Washington for best record in the NL at 96-63 after the Nationals lost to St. Louis.
Pittsburgh ensured it’d finish with a record 20th straight losing season with the defeat, extending its major North American professional sports record.
“Everyone’s pretty ticked off about it,” Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones said.
The Pirates were 16 games over .500 on Aug. 6 but have lost 18 of 23 to fall to 77-82.
“I’m disappointed,” second-year manager Clint Hurdle said. “Especially when we were able to get to a certain point of the year where we were talking playoffs... and ultimately it all got away from us.”
Wandy Rodriguez allowed two runs in six innings for the Pirates, who beat the Reds on Saturday but could not win consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 4-5.