Wandy Rodriguez leaves start with first-inning arm injury

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Wandy Rodriguez threw just 14 pitches and recorded just one out in today’s start against the Braves before exiting the game with what the Pirates are calling tightness in his left forearm.

Rodriguez has pitched very well since coming to the Pirates last year in a midseason trade, posting a 3.60 ERA and 96/36 K/BB ratio in 137 innings, so losing the veteran left-hander would be a big blow to a pitching staff that surprisingly ranks third in the league in ERA.

Bryan Morris replaced Rodriguez in the first inning today, but he shifted to the bullpen full time last season and the Pirates would likely look elsewhere for a rotation fill-in.

Anthony DeSclafani crushed a grand slam for his first career home run

Anthony DeSclafani
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Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:

Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.

The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.

The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.