CINCINNATI — Michael Chavis hit a tiebreaking two-run double, Diego Castillo homered and rookie Roansy Contreras allowed one run in six innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday.
Jason Delay drove in Ben Gamel from first base with a seventh-inning double for his first career hit and RBI as Pittsburgh sent the Reds to their third loss in four games and seventh of nine. Delay’s hit boosted Pittsburgh’s lead to 4-1.
“I’m happy for him,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “His first major league RBI, and it was a big RBI. It extended the lead.”
After getting rocked for five hits and seven runs in 1 2/3 innings during his last start on July 1 against Milwaukee, Contreras (3-2) allowed four hits and one run with one walk and seven strikeouts in his 12th appearance and ninth start of the season.
“I have to give credit to some adjustments I made this week,” Contreras said through a translator. “I’m grateful that the results came through. I always trust myself. I’ve learned how to move on. There’s always another new day.”
“He executed better,” Shelton said. “He had command of both of his breaking balls and his changeup. It was nice to see him bounce back.”
Mike Minor (1-6) struck out a season-high eight over 6 1/3 innings on the way to his fourth straight loss. He allowed four runs on five hits with two walks and a hit batter.
With one out in the sixth inning, Ke'Bryan Hayes came up with a one-out infield hit and Bryan Reynolds was hit on his left foot by a pitch. Reynolds stayed in the game and scored when Chavis drilled a line drive to left-center that one-hopped the wall for a 3-1 Pittsburgh lead.
“I didn’t get the win or a quality start, but I got to the seventh inning,” Minor said. “I’ve pitched in doubleheaders before, so it was in the back of my mind a little bit. Most of those guys won’t say no to pitching twice in a day, even though you don’t want them to. You don’t want to go just four or five innings. You have to help them out in the bullpen.”
Minor held Pittsburgh hitless until Castillo led off the fifth with his ninth homer, a no-doubt line drive into Cincinnati’s left-center field bullpen.
“This was the best I’ve thrown all year,” Minor said. “Still, they came away with four runs. I thought my stuff was a lot better. I had a lot of swing-and-miss stuff. Balls in the gap with guys on base killed me. The solo home run, I’ll take it.”
The Pirates had gone 14 innings without scoring a run, including Wednesday’s 16-0 loss to the Yankees.
“We bounce back really well,” Shelton said. “I’d like not to have to. We have a resilient bunch.”
Donovan Solano matched Castillo with a drive to left-center leading off the bottom of the fifth, his first homer since coming off the injured list on June 21.
Thursday’s doubleheader was the fourth of at least five this season for the Pirates, the most for the team since it played nine in 2004. The Reds and Pirates are scheduled to play a third doubleheader in Cincinnati on September 13, the first time the teams have played three twinbills in one season since 1965.
Between games, the Reds transferred RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (right forearm strain) to the 60-day IL, placed catcher Aramis Garcia (left middle finger) on the 10-day IL, promoted RHP Robert Dugger from Triple-A Louisville and recalled catcher Mark Kolozsvary from Louisville.
Reds: RHP Luis Cessa left the game with an undisclosed injury while pitching to Reynolds in the seventh inning. He was placed on the 15-day IL between games. … C Tyler Stephenson (broken right thumb) was scheduled to catch Thursday and be the designated hitter on Friday for Triple-A Louisville before possibly being activated on Saturday, manager David Bell said. … RHP Alexis Diaz (right bicep) could be activated Friday, Bell said.
Pirates: After a one-day stop in Cincinnati for Thursday’s doubleheader, Pittsburgh heads to Milwaukee, where RHP JT Brubaker (2-7, 4.28 ERA) will take the mound to begin a three-game series on Friday.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (3-4, 3.09) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Friday.