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Marte powers Pirates past Reds

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Associated Press

Pittsburgh

Before he took the mound Tuesday night, Pirates starter Joe Musgrove just didn’t feel right while warming up in the bullpen.

In his quest to get things straightened out, he made a quick change to his approach.

That tactic seemed to work, as Musgrove took a shutout into the seventh inning for Pittsburgh in a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Starling Marte hit a two-run homer and Gregory Polanco had a two-run double for the Pirates.

Musgrove (6-8) allowed two runs and struck out eight. He gave up five hits — four singles — over 6 1/3 innings. The key for him was trusting catcher Francisco Cervelli to make a change to the game plan because Musgrove didn’t have his best stuff.

“I learned a lot from him tonight about how to disguise pitches,” Musgrove said. “That was the earliest in the game I’ve gone to my changeup. Usually, the first inning or two, I’ve gone fastball heavy.”

That’s what this September is going to be all about for Musgrove, who has yet to finish a season as a starter in the majors. Last year with World Series champion Houston, he was moved to the bullpen as the Astros entered their stretch run.

“This is something that I haven’t really gone through, ever, where I feel so inconsistent with my delivery,” Musgrove said. “I feel like you never stop learning.”

Scooter Gennett homered twice for Cincinnati.

Marte’s homer in the fourth scored Pablo Reyes, who reached on his first major league hit. Polanco drove in Marte and Adam Frazier with a double in the third. Frazier doubled and scored on Francisco Cervelli’s single in the first.

The top four batters in Pittsburgh’s lineup went a combined 8 for 17 and drove in five runs.

“You’re looking for contagions,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Hopefully, this was a contagion to get us going in a direction. We haven’t had a lot of consistency.”

Reds starter Cody Reed (0-2) permitted six runs and nine hits in a season-high five innings. It was Reed’s third start of the season for Cincinnati. He’s made 10 relief appearances.

Gennett hit solo shots in the seventh and eighth, giving him 22 homers this season. It was his second multihomer game of the year.

SMOOTH DEBUT

Making his first career start, Reyes hit an infield single in his second at-bat. He drove in his first career run with a double in the eighth to finish 2 for 4. The 24-year-old started the season at Double-A Altoona. “I’m so excited,” Reyes said. “This is something that I’ve dreamed since I was a kid.”

UP NEXT

Reds: In the series finale Wednesday, RHP Homer Bailey (1-13, 6.13 ERA) will attempt to avoid becoming the first Reds pitcher to lose 14 games in a season since Mat Latos in 2013.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (11-9, 3.45 ERA) is scheduled to start. He is 2-0 and is holding opponents to a .217 batting average over his last three starts.