UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after none of my three Kentucky Derby choices sniffed finishing in the money (Union Rags, Gemologist, Hansen) — so my Derby record remains intact, oh-for-lifetime).
The Cincinnati Reds might as well have been singing Old McDonald Saturday night — Ol’ McDonald had curve, e-i-e-i-o.
Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jame McDonald, using his curveball over and over and over again, mesmerized the Reds for seven innings, striking out seven during a 3-2 victory over the Reds.
Mike Leake was good, but not good enough. During his seven innings he only gave up four hits, but he walked a career-high walks and two home runs and the result was that he was tagged with his fourth loss without a win.
THE REDS hit into four double plays and two of them were of the bizarre variety.
The Reds scored a run in the seventh inning and Scott Rolen was on first base with one out. Ryan Ludwig flied to center. Rolen tagged up at first and tried to advance to second but was thrown out. It was a rather bold attempt, but knowing the Reds struggle to score runs, it wasn’t a totally dunderhead move.
In the fourth, Joey Votto doubled, a goofy double. He hit it down the left field line and stood in the batter’s box, turning his back on the ball and walking out of the box, believing the ball was foul. But it dropped on the foul-line and fortunately for Votto the ball hopped into the stands down the left field lilne, a ground rule double.
Votto took third on a ground ball. Jay Bruce grounded to first baseman Casey McGehee, who stepped on first for the out and when Votto tried to score, McGehee threw him out at the plate — although it appeared Votto’s slid across the plate ahead of the tag.
It was that kind of a night for the Reds.
LEAKE HAD two outs and nobody on in the third when he gave up a double to Jose Tabatha and Neil Walker nearly sank a riverboat on the Allegheny River with a down-range home run to make it 2-0.
Jay Bruce tripled past diving center field Andrew McCuthen to lead off the seventh and scored on Scott Rolen’s single. That’s the inning that ended with Rolen trying to move from first to second on the fly ball.
Leake, though, gave that run back in the bottom of the seventh when pinch-hitter Alex Presley hit a two-out home run, pushing the lead back to two runs, 3-1.
The Reds scored once in the eighth when Devin Mesoraco led with a single, the fourth time in five innings the leadoff batter reached base. Zack Cozart doubled him home. The Reds then filled the bases, but Brandon Phillips struck out.
Jose Arrendondo gave up a one-out single to Andrew McCuthen in the eighth, but picked him off base, a fortuitous play because he then filled the bases with two walks and a hit.
Clint Barmes helped out, too, when he swung at ball four on a 3-and-2 pitch to end the inning and leave it at 3-2.
The Reds, though were helpless in the ninth against Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanraham, who was 40 for 44 in save situations and four-for-four this year.
Now he is five-for-five after Jay Bruce flied to center, Scott Rolen popped to short and Ryan Ludwick popped to second base.Tweet