Ivan Nova, the Pittsburgh Pirates starter, was named ML Pitcher of the Month. The Reds tarnished the trophy with a 4-2 win to take 3-of-4 in the series.
Nova entered the game with a 3-2 record, a 1.50 ERA, two complete games in five starts and an average start of seven innings per game. Amazingly, he walked fewer batters than he had complete games, one.
“I’m like a kid with a new toy,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
In contrast Tim Adleman started the season in Triple A. He started the game with an 0-1 record and a 4.70 ERA in two starts. In his last outing in St. Louis, Adleman allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
It seemed a mismatch was afoot.
“We played good ball in this series and the one in Pittsburgh," Bryan Price said. "We took on some pretty good pitchers in Nova and Taillon. The guys are playing good. They’re playing together.”
The Reds climbed back to the .500 mark at 14-14.
The Pirates’ rookie from South Afica, Gift Ngoepe doubled to score Francisco Cervelli in the second inning as Nova retired the first six Reds.
Arismendy Alcantara starting at secondbase, moving Jose Peraza to short to give Zack Cozart a day off, singled. It was the first of three for Alcantara, who raised his average from .238 to .333.
“With the exception of Gennett, they’re not going to play a lot," Price said. "For Arismendy to go in an pick up a game and do well its a big boost.”
The second time through the lineup the Reds caught up to Nova.
Peraza singled sharply to right to open the fourth frame. Joey Votto’s double to the gap that forced centerfielder Andrew McCutchen to make a sliding stop, scored Peraza from firstbase. Adam Duvall singled to the same gap. This time McCutchen cut the ball off quicker and threw Duvall out at second while Votto crossed the plate.
The Reds added two more in the fifth.
Billy Hamilton singled and stole second, his 16th of the season and 200th of his career.
“It is a big comfort with Votto and Duvall batting after me," Hamilton said.. " With them guys, you don’t have to steal a base every single pitch. It takes a little pressure off me knowing I don’t have to steal every base. Those guys can drive me in from first base. I don’t have to get to secondbase just to score.”
Votto doubled again. This time Duvall shot a ball down the leftfield line that bounced away from Gregory Polanco for a triple.
“I’d hate to see Billy on another team and worry about him," Price said. " It’s not just stolen bases, its going first to third on a single.”
Back-to-back doubles with two out in the sixth by Josh Bell and Cervelli off Adleman cut the lead in half.
Aldeman and Nova left after six stanzas. “Adleman was terrific," Price said.. "He was great. He threw strikes and went right after them He didn’t get himself in trouble.”
Adleman alowed two runs on six hits and one walk, striking out five.
“You want to keep the Pirates at bay as best you can," Adleman said." I want to go deeper in the game. If you told me before the game that I’d go six with two earned, I’d probably take it. I definitely feel that I have shown people that I can help the teams here and help the Reds. I am happy to be here.”
Nova gave up four runs on 10 hits but still has only one walk on the season, as he issued no free passes to the Reds. He also struck out five.
Michael Lorenzen relieved Adleman. He retired six straight.
Raisel Iglesias entered the ninth with three straight scoreless appearances and a 1.17 ERA. He earned his fifth save of the season.