Raisel Iglesias forgot to check with quality control before he trudged to the Great American Ball Park pitcher’s mound Tuesday night.
After producing seven straight quality starts, Iglesias didn’t make it past the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 25-year-old right-handed Cuban exile gave up five runs and five hits in the third inning, including a three-run home run to Andrew McCutchen, and the Pirates scored a 7-3 victory. The Reds scored all of their runs in the ninth to avoid being shut out for the 13th time.
In was a valuable and humbling experience for Iglesias, who had pitched seven innings in each of his last three starts and struck out 13, 10 and 10.
The message? “It ain’t that easy, kid.”
On the other side, Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano was 0-5 in 10 career starts against the Reds.
But on this steamy September night he held the Reds to no runs, three hits, one walk and he struck out 10 in front of an ocean of empty red seats.
“It was just a bad inning like any other pitcher can have,” said Iglesias, referring to the five-run third. “I was missing my spot. I went to keep it down and try to make them miss, but they put up some good swings and I learned from that one.”
His collapse began in the third when he fell behind Liriano 2-and-0, threw a strike, then threw another that ended up as a double that started the big uprising.
“It was a fastball up because I was trying to get ahead in the count because I fell behind,” said Iglesias. “He really saw it good and hit it good, mostly because it was up.”
Manager Bryan Price called it something like a speed bump in the highway of life as a major league pitchers.
“They took advantage of some mistakes, starting with Liriano leading off the third,” said Price. “He fell behind and threw a 90-mile-an-hour fastball elevated and he smoked it for a double. Then they were off to the races.”
Gregory Polanco singled to make it 1-0. Starling Marte singled and McCutchen launched one to right, a three-run homer to make it 4-0. The fifth run of the inning scored on an Iglesias balk.
And any auditions for left field for next year aren’t going well. Reds left fielders were dropping like mosquitoes in front of an Off spray nozzle.
Adam Duvall started in left field but was hit on the knee by a pitch and left after six innings. Kristopher Negron, just recalled from Louisville on Tuesday, replaced him and made a fabulous diving catch after a long run in the seventh and then left with a shoulder injury.
“We had a hard time staying healthy in left field,” said Price. “We’re hoping to get good reports on those guys tomorrow, but probably the report on Duvall will be better than the one on Negron.”
There was one facet the few hundred fans still in the park at the end could enjoy. With one out in the top of ninth, Ryan Mattheus struck out Jung Ho Kang, the 11th strikeout by a Reds pitcher, which meant free pizza for all ticket stub holders.
The free pizza promotion is one of the few things fans have been able to celebrate over this coarse, lumpy season.
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