The last week of the season was the worst for the Cincinnati Reds.
Coming home from Pittsburgh last Sunday on the strength of an 11-3 win, things looked bright as they faced the New York Mets, who had a losing record. Then a big series that could have won the NL Central Title for the Reds had fans excited for the weekend.
Greg Reynolds started on the mound for the Reds. The Reds regulars were in the game too but the Pirates lone starter Pedro Alvarez and the Pirates bench scored single runs in three of the first four innings to put the game away by the time the Reds' regulars left the soaked Great American Ball Park field.
Jose Tabata singled. Alvarez walked. Late season acquisition John Buck singled to plate a run in the first.
Jordy Mercer circled the bases on a 240 foot home run that eluded Jay Bruce's sliding attempt to make the catch in the second inning.
Mercer tripled to the gap and scored on a single by Princeton High School and University of Cincinnati graduate Josh Harrison.
By the time the Reds batted in the ninth inning, Garrett Jones hit his 15th home run of the season to put the Pirates ahead 4-0.
Meanwhile the Reds' first seven batters went down in order at the hands of Brandon Crumpton, who made his fourth start of the season with a record of 1-1.
Cesar Izturis playing in place of Brandon Phillips, who had a lump on his shin from a foul ball on Saturday, singled to break the ice. Zack Cozart led off the fifth inning with a double but was left there.
The Reds finally got on the board in the eighth inning against Jeanmar Gomez. Derrick Robinson singled. Izturis doubled. Fan favorite Corky Miller doubled, his fourth double in his last five at-bats. Those at-bats have been stretched from August 7.
Miller moved to third on a bunt by Billy Hamilton but Neftali Soto hit into a double play.
"We are 0-0," Dusty Baker said. "We have to forget what happened this season. The season starts over on Tuesday."
The Reds take off Monday at noon to take on these same Pirates for a chance to advance the National League Division Series against either the St. Louis Cardinals or Atlanta Braves.
"I don't think we worry about how we finished," Ryan Hanigan said. "We know it comes down to one game."
Johnny Cueto will pitch the game for Cincinnati.
"Cueto looks like he hasn't missed a beat. We have confidence in him. He has a lot of weapons. He used all his pitches and his last two starts were real good."