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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Reds Open New Era With Rookie Starters Late Rally Fizzles

Miehael Lorenzen is now second on the Reds' pitching staff with 14 starts and 78 2/3 innings. Only Anthony DeSclafani has more with 20 starts and 120 innings.

Lorenzen took on the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team with the second best record in the National League. The Pirates took advantage of Lorenzen's wildness to push across twosixth inning runs for a 5-4 win.

"Lorenzen was better. He threw a lot more first-pitch strikes," Bryan Pena said. "We didn't lose that game. They won it."

The rookie gave up a dribbler for a single to leadoff hitter Gregory Polanco.  Starling Marte was hit by a pitch.  Lorenzen struck out the 2013 Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen and retired Aramis Ramirez on a fly to left.  Jung Ho Kang hit a ground rule double to center to give the Pirates a quick lead.
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Marlon Byrd, a former Pirate, singled to open the Reds' second against Jeff Locke.  Ivan De Jesus Jr., who arrived from Triple A Louisville homerless, drilled his fourth home run to left.  Lorenzen singled and Billy Hamilton walked. Brandon Phillips drove in his eighth run in two days with a single.

The Pirates chipped away. Kang doubled again leading off the fourth. Pedro Alvarez delivered with an RBI single.  McCutchen tied the game with his 15th home run in the fifth.

Kang doubled again to open the sixth.  Lorenzen was about to pitch out of the jam, retiring the next two batters. Manager Bryan Price elected to walk number eight hitter Francisco Cervelli to bring up the pitchers' spot.  Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle sent Travis Ishikawa to pinch hit. Lorenzen walked Ishikawa, then walked to the shower, as Jumbo Diaz took over.  Kang scored on a wild pitch while Polanco was working another walk. Marte singled to left.  Cervelli scored but Ishikawa was thrown out by Jason Bourgeois at the plate.

The Ishikawa at bat frustrated Lorenzen most of all.

"It was a better start. It was a step in the right direction. You have to trust the process," Lorenzen said. "It was disappointing. Ishikawa took some tough pitches. There was a high pitch that I thought he was going to swing at. He fouled off some tough pitches too."

Marlon Byrd hit his 18th home run of the season off Jared Hughes.

Joakim Soria pitched the seventh for Pittsburgh.  The right-hander acquired from the Tigers got Phillips and Bourgeois out to start the inning. Votto walked for the third time in the game. Todd Frazier singled. Marlon Byrd walked on a 3-2 pitch.  Soria fell behind Brayan Pena 3-0, then got a called strike. Pena lined the 3-1 pitch up the middle but Soria speared it to end the threat.

Pena exhibited frustration that is uncommon for the upbeat Reds' catcher. He threw up his hands after the catch and bent over with his hands on his knees.

"I've never been one to act like that," Pena said.  "I felt like this one was on me. I tried to redeem myself. I know he (Soria) is a pretty good athlete but I didn't think he would catch that. It was frustrating. I was thinking about getting that run in or maybe give us the lead. Soria was my closer in Kansas City. He will probably tease me about it because he won the battle. It is tough to take but tomorrow is another day."

J.J. Hoover, Burke Badenhop and Ryan Mattheus pitched scoreless innings to keep the Reds' hopes alive.

The Pirates sent their top closer and All-Star Mark Melancon out to earn his 33rd save and his extend his team record to 31 straight. His last blown save was April 21 against the Chicago Cubs.

Phillips opened the ninth with a single to center. Bourgeois bunted Phillips to second. Votto walked for the fourth time. Frazier grounded a single to left but Starling Marte threw Phillips out at home easily. The Reds challenged the home plate collision rule but the call was confirmed in 1:25. Byrd worked another full count. Byrd hit a sinking liner to left that Marte picked off the grass to end the game.

Professionally edited by ML Schirmer
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