A four-run rally in the third inning this afternoon lifted the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory and a four-game sweep of the Pirates.
The Pirates have dropped six games in a row and 22 of their past 25.
Right-hander Charlie Morton (4-9) gave up four straight hits with two outs in the third inning, including back-to-back, RBI doubles by Drew Sutton and Joey Votto.
“I had a bad sequence of hitters and it cost us the game,” Morton said. “Votto’s a great hitter, and I let him get too comfortable. I wasn’t aggressive enough there. But as the game went on, I learned more of how I need to approach them instead of just throwing what I need to throw from what I’ve seen on paper (scouting reports). I made adjustments as the game went on, and I feel good about it. I hate to lose, but I can take some positive from it.”
Morton worked seven innings and allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and struck out three. He retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.
“Charlie threw really well,” manager John Russell said. “He was really cruising, especially late in the game. All his pitches were working.”
Russell said Morton was helped by an aggressive mindset on the mound. That’s been the case over Morton’s past half-dozen starts, even though he has just two victories in that span.
Lastings Milledge hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, triggering the usual, brief fireworks display. Within seconds, a military helicopter buzzed over PNC Park – a reminder of the tight security due to the G-20 summit across the Allegheny River.
The paid attendance was announced as 15,892, but there were only about 3,000 fans in the seats.
Reds righty Bronson Arroyo (14-13) allowed five hits in seven innings and notched his 12th straight quality start.
– Longtime Reds beat writer Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News blogged this morning about being in Pittsburgh during the G-20 summit: “A cab driver yelled at a passenger for rolling down the windows and said, ‘Don’t you know there are people out there throwing human feces through car windows?’ He must have meant some of the Pittsburgh pitchers we’ve seen the last two days.” Ouch.