Reynolds homers in 2nd straight game, Pirates beat Reds 6-1

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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CINCINNATI – Bryan Reynolds homered for the second straight game and drove in two runs, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Cincinnati Reds 6-1 Tuesday in a doubleheader opener.

Cincinnati’s Jake Fraley was hit on the head by Manny Banuelos‘ 93.5 mph fastball in the eighth inning. Down for several minutes, Fraley got to his feet and was led off the field by an athletic trainer.

“It’s part of the game,” Fraley said. “Any time you go to the plate, there is a chance that it could happen. … It could have been a lot worse. It hit me straight between the C-flap and the brim. It was straight off the helmet. Most of the time when it hits you that square, the manager doesn’t give you a choice. Being that late in the game, it is better to check and make sure everything is good.”

Cal Mitchell hit a two-run shot for his first homer since July 22 and Ke'Bryan Hayes added his first home run since Aug. 7, helping last-place Pittsburgh win back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 18 against Boston and Aug. 19 against Cincinnati. The Pirates (53-88) are assured of their fourth straight losing season and the Reds (56-84) of their seventh in nine years but first since 2019.

The game drew 9,338, the Reds’ fourth-lowest at home this season. Three of Cincinnati’s six home crowds under 10,000 have been for games against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh hit three homers for the second straight game, sending the fourth-place Reds to a fourth consecutive loss after winning three in a row.

Johan Oviedo (1-1) pitched hitless ball into the fifth and allowed one hit over five shutout innings for his first win since his Sept. 1 recall from Triple-A Indianapolis. He struck out four and walked two while lowering his earned-run average to 3.34 in the longest of his three Pittsburgh starts.

“He’s made some adjustments,” Shelton said. “He was more clean on the mound. His slider was really good and effective.”

“I got more work in the bullpen,” Oviedo said. “I was trying to get ahead. That’s my best five innings in a while. I was just trying to get through five. Next time, I hope to go deeper.”

Luis Cessa (3-3) gave up five runs and eight hits – including three homers – in his sixth start since being moved from the bullpen. He struck out five and walked one in 5 2/3 innings while slipping to 0-2 as a starter.

Reynolds hit a solo home run in the first inning in Monday’s 6-3 Pirates win and followed with a third-inning RBI single for a 1-0 lead Tuesday.

“Bryan getting us that early lead is helpful,” Shelton said.

Hayes hit his seventh homer of the season for a 2-0 lead in the fourth, a drive into the Reds bullpen in left-center field. Reynolds followed in the fifth with a shot into the right-center field seats.

“He’s taking really good, aggressive swings,” Shelton said about Hayes. “That one went over 400 feet.”

Mitchell knocked out Cessa with a line drive into the right field seats with Chavis aboard in the sixth.

“The scouting report said they are a patient team,” Cessa said. “I guess they know me from the Yankees. I have to pay better attention to Reynolds and Hayes. A couple first pitches, that was the key to my outing today. They were aggressive early in the count. I threw 90 plus pitches. That’s a good sign. I 100-percent prefer to be a starter.”

CROWDED CLUBHOUSE

Dowdy, promoted as Cincinnati’s 29th player for the doubleheader, became the major league-leading 64th player for the Reds this season. The team already had set a club record for players used in one season.

FAMILIAR FACES

The Reds and Pirates have played three doubleheaders in one season for the first time since 1965. They split the first two.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: Reds reliever Kyle Dowdy hit Tyler Heineman with his first pitch after relieving Cessa in the sixth. Heineman stayed in the game.

UP NEXT

Pirates RHP Roansy Contreras (5-4, 3.29) goes up against Reds rookie LHP Nick Lodolo (4-5, 3.78) in Wednesday’s series finale. Contreras allowed one run and four hits in six innings during win against Cincinnati on July 7. Lodolo has never faced the Pirates.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closed out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).