Reds bounce back from meltdown, rally past Pirates 4-2 in Votto’s possible home finale

CINCINNATI — TJ Friedl hit a two-run homer and drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning as the Cincinnati Reds bounced back from an historic collapse the night before to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Sunday.

Joey Votto received ovations from the crowd all day and singled in what could be his final home at-bat for the Reds.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand added a solo homer for Cincinnati, which stayed 2 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the final National League wild card. The Reds have five games remaining, all on the road.

Cincinnati blew a 9-0 lead in a crushing 13-12 loss to the Pirates on Saturday, but on Sunday rallied from a 2-0 deficit.

“After games like last night, and you go down 2-0 in a Sunday day game, it’s so easy to kind of roll over,” Friedl said. “That’s just not this team. It’s just not our DNA. It’s not who we are.”

Despite starting 20-8, the Pirates (74-82) were assured their fifth straight losing season.

Jose Hernandez (1-2) took the loss. Lucas Sims (7-3) earned the win for Cincinnati.

“In some ways, only this team comes back and wins this game after last night,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We got a lot of good performances, from some of the same relievers (who struggled Saturday). That only comes from being part of something bigger than yourself.”

Reds left-hander Brandon Williamson retired 12 of his first 14 batters before Jack Suwinski led off the fifth with a home run, his 26th of the season.

Henry Davis doubled and scored on Jason Delay’s single to put the Pirates ahead 2-0.

Quinn Priester, who had an 8.61 ERA coming in, held the Reds hitless until Jonathan India led off the sixth with a single. Friedl followed with his 17th homer to tie it.

In the seventh, India doubled and scored on Friedl’s single to put the Reds ahead 3-2.

Encarnacion-Strand’s 11th homer in the eighth provided an insurance run for Ian Gibaut, who earned his second save.

“It’s huge after three tough games,” Friedl said. “Coming down the stretch here, it’s just fighting for inches. You’re clawing for anything you can get. There’s no quit.”


Votto received loud cheers before each plate appearance during Cincinnati’s home finale. The 40-year-old first baseman is in the final season of his contract. Prior to his first at-bat, the 16-year veteran stepped out of the batter’s box and raised his helmet to the crowd, which stood chanting “Joey! Joey!”

“It’s overwhelming,” Votto said. “It’s a humbling experience. I very nearly cried. It was a spectacular moment for me.”

Votto, a six-time All-Star and the 2010 NL MVP, said he’ll wait until after the season to ponder his future.

“After the last game of the season, whenever that happens, I would like to stop, just stop, and go from there,” Votto said. “I don’t like not being a productive player. I just want to continue to work and see where it takes me. I have never worked another job. I couldn’t imagine a better job.”


The surprising Reds drew 2 million fans to Great American Ball Park for the first time since 2015. The season total of 2,038,302 included 10 sellouts, most since 2012. Those numbers came after a record-low attendance of 7,375 on April 17 before the arrival of young stars like Elly De La Cruz.


Pirates: LHP Bailey Falter (left neck strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list. RHP Osvaldo Bido was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Reds: SS Matt McLain (right oblique strain) made his second and final rehab appearance for Triple-A Louisville and is expected to rejoin the club Tuesday in Cleveland.


Reds RHP Hunter Greene (4-6, 4.24 ERA) will start the opener of a two-game series Tuesday in Cleveland.

The Pirates had not announced a starter for Tuesday’s opener of a three-game series in Philadelphia.


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