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Pirates rally to clip Reds
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Neil Walker plated the deciding run with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
After squandering a 4-2 lead provided by newly acquired Ike Davis' fourth- inning grand slam, the Pirates pulled even on Andrew McCutchen's solo homer in the eighth before taking advantage of a pair of walks issued by J.J. Hoover (1-2) in the ninth.
Walker and McCutchen each finished with three hits and Davis went 2-for-4 to help Pittsburgh halt a three-game skid and take the opener of this four-game set.
Jared Hughes (1-0), called up from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to the contest, stranded two in the top of the ninth to notch the win.
Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco each had three hits and an RBI for Cincinnati, which received seven innings of four-run ball out of starter Mike Leake.
Hoover managed to keep the contest deadlocked in the bottom of the eighth, fanning pinch-hitter Jordy Mercer with two out and the go-ahead run on second, but walked Russell Martin and McCutchen in succession with one gone in Pittsburgh's portion of the ninth.
He was able to retire Pedro Alvarez on an infield pop-up, but Walker's flare into short right landed just past the outstretched glove of second baseman Phillips and Martin beat Jay Bruce's throw home.
"Anytime you can not hit a barrel and find some grass and score a run, especially to win a game, it feels good, needless to say" said Walker. "It was pretty good retribution for some balls that were hit hard and were caught."
The Reds scored an unearned run -- resulting from an error by Bucs shortstop Clint Barmes -- in the seventh to pull within 4-3, then scored twice in the top of the eighth to move in front. Singles by Phillips and Frazier preceded Bruce's game-tying double off Justin Wilson, who had just came on in relief of starter Francisco Liriano. After Ryan Ludwick was intentionally walked, Mesoraco laced a go-ahead single to left, though Bruce was gunned down at the plate on a perfect throw from Pittsburgh's Starling Marte.
Reds manager Bryan Price challenged the ruling, but the call was upheld as Martin was ruled to have tagged Bruce prior to him crossing.
Manny Parra then took over for Leake but was promptly greeted by McCutchen's leadoff drive over the bleachers in right center.
"[Leake] did a great job of throwing the seventh inning and was in line to go out there and at least face McCutchen to start the eighth and then bring Parra in to face Alvarez," said Price. "But we got to a spot in the lineup [in the top of the eighth] where I thought we needed to roll the dice [with a pinch- hitter] to see if he can break the game open."
Liriano was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits over seven- plus innings to remain winless on the season.
The Pittsburgh ace was touched for a run in the opening frame created almost single-handedly by Billy Hamilton, who was hit by a pitch and raced all the way to third on Joey Votto's tapper to the mound before sliding under Mesoraco's tag on Phillips' grounder to third.
Back-to-back doubles by Phillips and Frazier extended Cincinnati's lead to 2-0 after three innings, but Pittsburgh overcame the deficit and then some in the fourth.
McCutchen's single, an Alvarez double and Leake's hitting Walker with a pitch loaded the bases for Davis, who launched the righty's first offering over the scoreboard in right for his second career slam.
Davis, playing just his third game for the Pirates since being traded from the Mets, also had a grand slam against Baltimore with New York on June 18, 2012 ... Votto and Phillips started together for the 800th time, the most on the right side of the infield by any duo in Reds history ... Mesoraco, a native of nearby Punxsutawney, is now batting .541 with 12 RBI while hitting safely in all 10 games since coming off the disabled list on Apr. 8 ... Hughes was added to the roster when the Pirates placed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (right knee inflammation) on the 15-day DL.
04/22 00:02:07 ET