Cincinnati Reds beat Pittsburgh Pirates, snap 13-game skid

By Nate Barnes, The Sports Xchange   |   Oct. 4, 2015 at 1:30 AM
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PITTSBURGH - The Cincinnati Reds' gloomy season received a ray of sunshine with a double-dose of good news Saturday. The team entered Saturday's game on a 13-game losing streak, the club's longest in 70 years.

General manager Walt Jocketty announced the Reds will retain manager Bryan Price for the 2016 season in the afternoon and the team followed that news with a 3-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates that evening.

"I want to be here to see this through," Price said. "I don't want to be the guy that comes in and has two seasons where we're a bottom-of-the-division team and move on to doing something else in my life."

Brandon Finnegan pitched a career-high six innings and the Reds scored two runs in the first to spoil the final regular-season start of A.J. Burnett's 17-year career.

"It's gone two weeks without this feeling," Price said. "It's been not a very enjoyable two weeks, I can tell you that. It feels good."

Cincinnati scored twice in the first with some help from Burnett. Shortstop Eugenio Suarez singled with one out and advanced to third when Burnett's pickoff attempt went wide of first base, then scored on first baseman Joey Votto's groundout.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips singled, stole second and scored on third baseman's Todd Frazier's double for a 2-0 Reds' lead.

Second baseman Josh Harrison hit a leadoff triple and scored on right fielder Gregory Polanco's groundout to pull the Pirates within 2-1.

Finnegan (2-2) gave up one run and three hits in six innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out six.

Finnegan, acquired from Kansas City in the trade that sent ace right-hander Johnny Cueto to the Royals, allowed only one man to advance past first base and retired 15 of 17 batters.

"It's been a month of just a bunch of bad luck," Finnegan said. "Nothing's been going our way, really, so it felt good to have something finally come on our side."

Burnett (9-7) pitched into the seventh but was removed after he issued a walk to center fielder Jason Bourgeois with two outs. The right-hander gave up three runs and five hits.

"It was emotional all day," Burnett said. "Just being around the family, the kids, getting ready. But in my mind we ain't done yet. We've got a horse coming up in a couple days against Chicago."

Burnett walked four and struck out nine as he moved past Christy Mathewson into 31st on the all-time strikeouts list, now with 2,513.

"He continued to do what he's done throughout his career: to go after people, to be aggressive," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The ball was elevated a little bit early."

Left fielder Adam Duvall hit a solo home run in the seventh to ensure Cincinnati's lead. He's hit five home runs in 60 at-bats since he was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on July 31.

Left-hander Aroldis Chapman entered with two outs in the eighth and pitched 1 1/3 innings to pick up his 33rd save.

Pittsburgh's magic number to clinch home-field in Wednesday's NL wild-card game remained at one with the loss. The Pirates (97-64) are one game ahead of the Chicago Cubs (96-65) who beat Milwaukee 1-0.

NOTES: RHP A.J. Burnett, who plans to retire after the season, made the final regular-season start of his career. ... 2B Brandon Phillips started at second base after he was removed from Friday's game when he fouled a ball off his shin. ... Pittsburgh officially named RHP Gerrit Cole the team's starter for Wednesday's wild-card game. The 25-year-old right-hander posted a 19-8 record and a 2.60 ERA with 202 strikeouts in 208 innings pitched this season.

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