Sean Rodriguez belts walkoff homer to lift Pittsburgh Pirates past Cincinnati Reds

By Shelly Anderson, The Sports Xchange
Sean Rodriguez belts walkoff homer to lift Pittsburgh Pirates past Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Sean Rodriguez (3). Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

PITTSBURGH -- Jameson Taillon stopped short of calling it a premonition. Still, sitting at his locker in the Pittsburgh clubhouse after doing his part by pitching six strong innings, he wasn't surprised when he watched on one of the big TVs as Pirates teammate Sean Rodriguez hit a game-winning home run in the ninth.

"I thought we were going to walk it off," Taillon said of Rodriguez's 413-foot shot into the left-field stands to lead off the ninth Friday night for a 3-2 Pirates win against the Cincinnati Reds.


"I had a good feeling. I just didn't know we were going to do it that quickly, waste no time."

Pittsburgh broke a two-game losing streak. It was the start of a six-game homestand for the Pirates, who were coming off of a 1-5 road trip.

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Rodriguez was a defensive replacement in the eighth inning and brought with him an 0-for-10 streak, but he wasn't holding back.

"I'm taking an aggressive swing," Rodriguez said. "When I try to be too passive, that's when I swing and miss a lot. When I take my swing, it's because I'm getting in my ready position and able to get my swing off. I was able to get a pitch I was able to get my swing off and hit it as good as I needed to."

Cincinnati tied the game 2-2 off of Tony Watson (2-3) in the ninth. Eugenio Suarez walked, moved to second on Tucker Barnhart's bunt, stole third and scored on pinch-hitter Ramon Cabrera's sacrifice fly to left.

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In a matchup of young right-handers, Taillon and the Reds' Anthony DeSclafani had similar nights but neither got a decision.

Taillon allowed one run on six hits over six innings, with one walk and six strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches and picked up his first career win at PNC Park.

It was Taillon's fifth straight outing of at least six innings.

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DeSclafani, who had won four of his past five starts, allowed two runs on two hits over six innings, with three walks and six strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches.


Felipe Rivero pitched the seventh and Neftali Feliz the eighth for the Pirates without giving up any hits.

Rodrigeuz's homer, his 11th this season and the second walk-off homer of his career, came against Ross Ohlendorf (5-7).

"It's hard for me to come into that situation at this point and let us down, especially since we've been playing so well," Ohlendorf said. "It's really disappointing. It's a game we were in positon to win and I didn't give us a chance."

Cincinnati scored in the first.

Shortstop Zack Cozart, who missed the previous three games because of a bruised right index finger, hit a one-out bloop single to center, advanced on Joey Votto's single to left and scored an out later on Brandon Phillips' base hit to right.

It took Taillon 27 pitches to get out of the first.

"I kind of told myself I'd been there before," Taillon said. "I wanted to go out there and do what a starting pitcher is supposed to do, go as deep as I can."

Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead in the fifth.


After David Freese walked to open the inning, John Jaso hit a ball to the center-field wall. It was first ruled that center fielder Billy Hamilton bobbled but caught the ball. That got overturned and ruled a double when a Pirates challenge showed that the ball glanced off of the wall.

"It was a great attempt," DeSclafani said. "I thought it was a home run off the bat, so I was just glad it stayed in the park. He gave a great effort and it was a little unfortunate the runners had to go to second and third. I was hoping for first and second."

Francisco Cervelli's sacrifice fly to right drove in Freese, and Jordy Mercer's sacrifice bunt brought home Jaso.

NOTES: F Andrew McCutchen returned to the Pirates lineup after being benched for all three games of the Atlanta series that ended Thursday. Manager Clint Hurdle's hope was that it would serve as a reset for McCutchen, who entered Friday's game hitting .241. ... Pittsburgh RF Gregory Polanco was out of the lineup for the second game in a row. Hurdle said Polanco has left shoulder discomfort that limits his throwing but allows him to hit. ... Pirates 1B John Jaso was in the lineup, albeit hitting sixth rather than leadoff. There was speculation he might be benched after not running out a chopper Thursday that he said he thought was foul but went for a double play. ... Pirates RHP Tyler Glasnow (triceps injury) is scheduled to throw in the bullpen Saturday, and expand from his fastball to all his pitches. ... Cincinnati SS Zack Cozart returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a bruised right ring finger. ... Reds IF Tony Renda made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter Tuesday. In the eighth he executed a sacrifice bunt and reached first on a throwing error. Now the scoring on that play has been changed, giving him his first career hit. ... While Cincinnati played a day game at home Thursday and traveled to Pittsburgh, the Pirates played a night game at Atlanta and landed back home at 2:24 a.m.


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