clearn.png
Monday July 4th, 2022 2:50AM

Pirates' VanMeter struggles as catcher, Reds end 9-game skid

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CINCINNATI (AP) — Pittsburgh emergency catcher Josh VanMeter had a rough time in his first try behind the plate since he was a teenager, and the Cincinnati Reds took advantage to end a nine-game losing streak, beating the Pirates 9-2 Saturday in the opener of a doubleheader.

Tyler Stephenson fouled a ball hard off VanMeter's mask, then hit a tiebreaking, bases-loaded double in the eighth inning that fueled a seven-run burst.

Pirates starting catcher Roberto Pérez was helped off the field with a left hamstring injury after falling while rounding second base in the top of the eighth. Backup catcher Andrew Knapp had been ejected by plate umpire Will Little in the bottom of the sixth for chirping from the dugout.

That left VanMeter as the Pirates' next best option at the plate — recently, the second baseman/outfielder recalled the last time he caught was when he was 14 or 15 years old.

The 27-year-old VanMeter, who began his career with Cincinnati in 2019 and is in his first season with the Pirates, moved from second base to behind the plate to begin the eighth and did his best. He also showed how hard it is to be a catcher, even for a pro who has played most everywhere on the diamond.

Working with a new, inexperienced batterymate, Wil Crowe (1-2) hit Brandon Drury with a pitch and walked Tommy Pham and Mike Moustakas to start the eighth with no outs and the score 2-all.

Stephenson stepped up and fouled the first pitch directly back. VanMeter took off his mask for a moment to recover and Little went to the mound to give Crowe a new ball, giving the new catcher a break. Stephenson, the Cincinnati catcher, and VanMeter shared a few words in the interim.

With the count 0-2, VanMeter stabbed at three straight sliders near the zone but didn’t get any of the calls — perhaps his obvious lack of pitch framing experience cost the Pirates.

Stephenson followed by hitting a line drive down the right field line that eluded a diving Ben Gamel and rolled to the wall for two runs. It was Stephenson's third hit of the day and gave him a career-high four RBIs.

Kyle Farmer added a sacrifice fly before Tyler Naquin drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double. Only three of the runs were earned after pitcher Beau Sulser’s error.

The Reds posted their highest run total of the season and won for the first time since beating St. Louis 4-1 on April 24. Cincinnati still owns baseball’s worst record at 4-22.

Pittsburgh loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth against Lucas Sims (1-0), who bounced back to strike out Ke’Bryan Hayes, Daniel Vogelbach and Michael Chavis.

The Pirates have lost three of their last four and seven of their last nine games. Saturday’s doubleheader was the second in four days for the Pirates, who split a twinbill in Detroit on Wednesday.

The announced first game attendance of 9,267 was Cincinnati’s second-smallest of the season at home, just ahead of the 9,192 on hand for an 8-5 loss to San Diego on April 27.

Pirates starter J.T. Brubaker tied his single-game career high with nine strikeouts in five innings. The Reds reached Brubaker for three hits and two runs with two walks.

In his second appearance and start for the Reds since being promoted from Triple-A Louisville and first career appearance against his former team, Reds right-hander Connor Overton didn’t walk anybody while allowing six hits and two runs with four strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: LHP Nick Lodolo, who was expected to come off the 10-day injured lost to start the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, was scratched with the return of soreness in his lower back.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP Zach Thompson (1-3, 9.39), who has lost each of his last three starts, was Pittsburgh’s scheduled starter for Sunday’s series finale.

Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (1-4, 7.01) is due to try breaking his three-start losing streak on Sunday.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Kentucky Derby Updates | Epicenter, Taiba now the favorites
Bettors are throwing their money behind Epicenter and Taiba, supplanting Zandon as Kentucky Derby favorite less than three hours before post time
4:27PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Pirates' VanMeter struggles as catcher, Reds end 9-game skid
Pittsburgh emergency catcher Josh VanMeter had a rough time in his first try behind the plate since he was a teenager, and the Cincinnati Reds took advantage to end a nine-game losing streak, beating the Pirates 9-2 in the opener of a doubleheader
4:25PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Kershaw goes 7, Dodgers beat Cubs 7-0 in opener of split DH
Clayton Kershaw dominated over seven innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the struggling Chicago Cubs 7-0 in the opener of a split doubleheader
3:57PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Fake marina with fake water steals show at Miami Grand Prix
Formula One pictured a race in Miami and envisioned sun, sand, beaches and boats
3:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
Alcaraz beats Djokovic to reach Madrid Open final
Rafael Nadal one day
3:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Kentucky Derby Updates | Big hats and bourbon return
Spectators are returning in droves for the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
2:18PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Brewers beat Braves 6-3; Acuña homers in return for Atlanta
Eric Lauer allowed one earned run, Christian Yelich’s infield single was the big hit in Milwaukee’s four-run sixth inning, and the streaking Brewers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3
11:37PM ( 17 hours ago )
MLB umpire apologizes after ejecting D-backs star Bumgarner
Major League Baseball veteran umpire Dan Bellino has issued an apology after ejecting Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner from a game this week
10:10PM ( 18 hours ago )
To the showers! 6 MLB rainouts, most in a day since 2018
All-Star aces Max Scherzer, Shane Bieber and Gerrit Cole all got early showers
8:36PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Adames homers twice as Brewers pound lowly Reds 10-5
Willy Adames hit two of Milwaukee’s six homers, and the Brewers beat the lowly Cincinnati Reds 10-5
5:16PM ( 1 day ago )
Former MLB star Mark Teixeira earns Georgia Tech degree
Mark Teixeira earned plenty of accolades over his long tenure in Major League Baseball
1:09PM ( 2 days ago )
LEADING OFF: Mets-Phils again, Hinch vs Houston, Ohtani a go
The Mets and Phillies renew hostilities in Philadelphia only four days after their previous matchup at Citi Field, which got a little testy at the end
3:11AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Kentucky Derby Updates | Epicenter, Taiba now the favorites
Bettors are throwing their money behind Epicenter and Taiba, supplanting Zandon as Kentucky Derby favorite less than three hours before post time
4:27PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Kershaw goes 7, Dodgers beat Cubs 7-0 in opener of split DH
Clayton Kershaw dominated over seven innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the struggling Chicago Cubs 7-0 in the opener of a split doubleheader
3:57PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Capitals rout Panthers 6-1 in Game 3 to take 2-1 series lead
Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves as the Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 6-1 in Game 3 to take a lead in their first-round playoff series
3:56PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Ukraine evacuates civilians from steel plant under siege
The war in Ukraine has wracked the country’s southern coast as Russian forces fire cruise missiles at the city of Odesa and bombard a steel mill in the port of Mariupol housing Ukrainian civilians and fighters
3:54PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Sinn Fein hails 'new era' as it wins Northern Ireland vote
The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein has won the largest number of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time
3:52PM ( 57 minutes ago )