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|Looking to shake his squad out of its slump [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-cody-kessler-jersey]Cody Kessler Jersey[/url] , Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle juggled the top of his lineup.
Didn’t hurt that the Pirates ran into the perfect opponent, too – a team struggling even worse than they were.
Josh Bell hit a two-run homer, Gregory Polanco also went deep and Pittsburgh took advantage of some dreadful defense by the New York Mets to snap a five-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory Monday night.
”If it’s broken you have to fix it, right?” said Bell, who batted second. ”Changing things up. It might have been the spark that we needed.”
In a series opener between tumbling teams, Pittsburgh built a five-run cushion for Jameson Taillon and held on to hand the Mets their seventh straight defeat before a mostly quiet crowd of 22,135. New York (31-45) is 6-24 in its last 30 games – and that 11-1 start to the season feels like ancient history.
Playing at home has hardly helped. The reeling Mets, with the fewest wins in the National League, have lost 14 of 15 at Citi Field, falling to 13-25 in their own ballpark this season.
”It’s tough,” rookie manager Mickey Callaway said. ”We need to start playing better baseball to win some games.”
After totaling only eight runs during their skid, the Pirates shuffled the first three hitters in their batting order. Leadoff man Starling Marte stole two bases and scored three times as Pittsburgh [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-calais-campbell-jersey]Calais Campbell Jersey[/url] , which was in first place on May 17, won for only the 11th time in 35 games.
”We’re just looking for anything to kick-start us. Different guys hitting in different spots, maybe getting some different pitches to hit,” Taillon said. ”So I think it was fun. I think it was good to mix things up. If you do the same thing over and over, you’re crazy. So we mix it and we got some results.”
Taillon (5-6) took a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning against a makeshift Mets lineup before New York tried to rally. Consecutive doubles by Jose Reyes and Kevin Plawecki chased Taillon, and a three-run homer by pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores off Tyler Glasnow trimmed Pittsburgh’s lead to 5-4.
Steven Brault entered and threw seven straight balls before recovering to strike out Jose Bautista on a pitch in the dirt. Brault then got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Cabrera also committed an earlier error at second base.
Kyle Crick pitched out of trouble in the eighth , and Elias Diaz provided an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth. Felipe Vazquez struck out the side for his 15th save in 19 attempts.
”That’s the way you’re looking for your closer to finish the game,” Hurdle said. ”That’s as good as he’s pitched all season.”
Two errors in the first three innings by rookie third baseman Luis Guillorme – touted as a slick fielder – led directly to a pair of unearned runs against Mets starter Seth Lugo (2-3).
”Didn’t make the plays,” Guillorme said. ”I should be able to play anywhere they put me.”
Josh Harrison hit a sacrifice fly in the first, Polanco had a solo homer in the second and Diaz delivered a two-out RBI single in the third.
It was only the second home run since May 12 for Polanco, who came off the bench the previous three days.
Bell sliced a two-run shot into the left-field corner in the sixth, his first homer since May 31 at St. Louis. Bell has three homers in four career games at Citi Field [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-a.j.-bouye-jersey]A.J. Bouye Jersey[/url] , where Pittsburgh has won 11 of its last 16.
”Everyone contributed something,” Hurdle said. ”Marte has the ability to change a game up top, just to really get you going.”
In the wake of Arizona’s four-game sweep at Pittsburgh last weekend, Hurdle spoke to his team.
”I felt we just needed as a group to recommit to some things,” he said.
Needing a fresh arm in the bullpen, the Mets recalled RHP Tyler Bashlor from Double-A Binghamton and optioned RHP Chris Flexen to Triple-A Las Vegas. The 25-year-old Bashlor made his major league debut in the sixth and worked two innings, giving up Bell’s two-run homer.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Pirates minor leaguer Oddy Nunez pitched a rain-shortened no-hitter Sunday for Class A Bradenton in the Florida State League. Nunez struck out six and walked two over eight innings in a 5-0 win against Fort Myers.
Mets: OF Brandon Nimmo didn’t start because of a sore right pinkie after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. But an MRI showed no broken bones and he is day to day. ”Real good news,” a relieved Callaway said. Nimmo entered as a pinch-runner in the eighth and stayed in the game to play left field. … Flores and 3B Todd Frazier were rested. Frazier lined out to center field as a pinch-hitter. … 3B David Wright (shoulder, back) took batting practice and grounders on the field.
Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (5-5, 4.56 ERA) starts Tuesday night against LHP Steven Matz (3-5, 3.6.
Fitting for Independence Day, the Cincinnati Reds saved all their fireworks for the fourth.
Starting pitcher Sal Romano’s suicide squeeze capped Cincinnati’s six-run fourth inning [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-barry-church-jersey]Barry Church Jersey[/url] , and the Reds rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 on Wednesday night.
”It was nice to be able to contribute with the bat,” said Romano, who was hitting .038 going into the game. ”The first thought when I saw the signal, I thought the number one thing was get the ball down wherever the pitch was. I was excited. I have never done it before. It was definitely a big insurance run and got the out of the game.”
Jesse Winker and Jose Peraza each had a two-run single during the big inning, and Scooter Gennett also singled in a run. The Reds overcame Daniel Palka’s third home run in two games to win the three-game series and complete a 4-3 homestand before a crowd of 24,442, which stayed for a postgame fireworks show.
The Reds have won 13 of 17 and have come from behind in eight of their last 11 wins.
Yoan Moncada added a two-run homer for the White Sox, who have dropped five of seven and 14 of 20.
Cincinnati improved to 8-2 in interleague play, the most wins since going 11-9 in 2013. The White Sox are 4-11 against NL teams.
Romano (5- struck out six and allowing six hits and four runs in five innings. His bunt back to the mound brought home Adam Duvall for the final run of Cincinnati’s breakout fourth inning.
Reds relievers Amir Garrett and Michael Lorenzen teamed up for 2 1/3 scoreless innings before Jared Hughes celebrated his 33rd birthday by pitching the final 1 2/3 for his sixth save.
Dylan Covey retired his first nine batters before the Reds erupted for five hits and six runs while sending 10 batters to the plate in the fourth. Winker and Peraza each had a two-run single before Romano’s bunt knocked Covey (3-4) out of the game. Covey allowed a walk, struck out two and hit a batter in 3 2/3 innings.
”I was trying to get ground balls, but I was leaving my pitches elevated,” Covey said. ”I tried to make adjustments. That’s not my game [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-abry-jones-jersey]Abry Jones Jersey[/url] , I’ve got to keep the ball down.”
”Their guy was shutting us down pretty good,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. ”We saw some things from him better the second time around. We put together some good at-bats.”
Moncada, whose 12th-inning bases-loaded triple broke open Chicago’s 12-3 win Tuesday, gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead with a two-out, two-run homer in the third. Palka went deep for a 3-0 lead in the fourth.
The Reds added a run in the eighth on pitcher Chris Volstad’s bases-loaded throwing error.
The Reds sent nine or more batters to the plate in one inning in five of the seven games on the just-completed homestand.
Billy Hamilton, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the sixth and stayed in to play center field, threw out Jose Abreu at the plate trying to score from second to end the eighth – Hamilton’s eighth assist of the season, tying Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber for the NL lead among outfielders.
The Reds traded RHP Dylan Floro and a minor league pitcher to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor league pitchers, optioned IF/OF Brandon Dixon to Triple-A Louisville and recalled RHP Tanner Rainey and LHP Cody Reed from Louisville before Wednesdays game.
DON’T FORGET TO WRITE
A 10-day, nine-game road trip and the All-Star break will keep the Reds away from Cincinnati until July 20.
White Sox: Abreu returned to Chicago’s lineup after leaving Monday’s game and missing Tuesday’s with a bruised left ankle from a foul ball.
Reds: Gennett reported no problems from having his left hand bent back while trying to make a catch on Adam Engel’s bunt Tuesday.
White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon (1-3) faces the Astros on Thursday. He is 1-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four career starts against Houston.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (6-6) faces the Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field. Mahle was 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA in five June starts.
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