Reds and Pirates combine for 10 homers in weather-suspended slugfest
During a night filled with crazy games, only one had 10 home runs. Only one had a lengthy rain delay with sheets coming down that might have forced even Carl Spackler and Bishop Pickering inside. Only one didn't end. Of course, all of that happened in the same game.
The Pirates and Reds traded homers for six innings on Monday night, with each one landing like a counterpunch. The lead went back and forth six times, which wouldn't have been noteworthy if it were a basketball game. A baseball team, though, can go an entire week without seeing leads change hands that often. When it all ended, or, more accurately, was suspended, the teams were tied at seven. The game will be resumed at 5:30 ET on Tuesday.
Interestingly enough, the first run of the game was not by way of the longball. Andrew McCutchen kicked off the scoring with an RBI single that scored Starling Marte. It was the first and last run that did not come via a homer. Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez went back-to-back twice, with both of Walker's homers tying the game, and both of Sanchez' giving the Pirates a one-run lead. Marte and Travis Snider also went back-to-back in the fifth, giving the Pirates three sets of back-to-back jacks. Walker and Sanchez were two of four players on Monday to hit multiple homers. Walker's second homer also contributed this wonderful GIF:
While Pittsburgh won the home run battle, at least for now, 6-4, the Reds got more buck for their bang, belting out three two-run homers and a solo shot. The first, a two-run shot by Todd Frazier, put them up 2-1 in the bottom of the first. After the first of the Walker-Sanchez back-to-backs, Ryan Ludwick crushed a two-run bomb of his own to center, putting the Reds back in front by a run. In the fifth inning, Joey Votto absolutely destroyed a Wandy Rodriguez offering, giving the Reds a 6-5 lead. Devin Mesoraco ended the home-run barrage with a solo shot in the sixth that saved the Reds, at least for one day.
The Great American Ballpark may play like a bandbox, especially in the summer, but the stadium had little to do with the outburst on Monday. The rain made it seemingly impossible for pitchers to get a good grip on the ball, resulting in a number of hanging breaking balls that the hitters did not miss. Luckily for both managers, they only used two pitchers apiece. With at least 12 innings of baseball spread across two games on Tuesday, they'll need to have all hands on deck. Those who take the ball will have to hope for conditions that are just a bit more conducive to pitching. Neither team led by more than one run. The Pirates were in front four separate times, and the Reds had three different one-run leads. The Reds managed to score seven runs on seven hits, even though it was the Pirates who binged on solo homers. It was the wildest game on one of the wildest nights of the young season, and it figures that such a wild night would drag into Tuesday. The Reds and Pirates made sure that would happen.