MLB: Reds face Pirates, look to avoid third straight home loss

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The Cincinnati Reds will be trying to avoid a third straight home loss Monday when they open a three-game series against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cincinnati is coming off back-to-back home losses against the Boston Red Sox. The Reds beat the Red Sox 5-2 on Friday night, but dropped a 4-3 decision Saturday and then lost 7-4 on Sunday.

Left-hander Nick Lodolo took the loss Sunday after he gave up four runs (three earned) in 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out three.

After the game, Cincinnati manager David Bell revealed that Lodolo pitched with a blister on his throwing hand.

The loss Sunday was Cincinnati’s sixth in its past eight games.

“I definitely thought we probably played well enough to win (the series),” Lodolo said. “Or at least we should have. We’ve got to keep going. It’s all we can do.”

The Pirates, who won two of three games against the Reds in Pittsburgh earlier this month, are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

Left-hander Bailey Falter (3-5, 3.74 ERA) is Pittsburgh’s scheduled starter Monday. Righty Carson Spiers (0-1, 3.20) is listed as Cincinnati’s probable starter.

Spiers made his first major league start of the season in the Reds’ 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh last Monday. He allowed four runs in six innings. All four runs were scored in the first two innings.

“It was his third start in the big leagues,” Bell said after that loss. “It’s OK to be a little over-amped in that situation. He got behind the first couple hitters and walked the first hitter. That cost us a couple runs. Other than that, he threw six innings, held us right there and gave us a shot to win.”

Last season, 20 of Spiers’ 29 minor league appearances came in relief, as did two of his four appearances with the Reds. He’s been used primarily as a starter at both the major league and minor league levels this season.

His start in the 4-1 loss is the only time in his career he’s pitched against Pittsburgh.

“I’ve said it before: I truly don’t care what the role is,” Spiers said. “I want to help the team win.”

Falter was the losing pitcher in Cincinnati’s 2-1 triumph over Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings, struck out three and walked two.

Falter is 0-2 with a 6.29 ERA in six career appearances (four starts) against Cincinnati.

The Reds won’t have to face Pittsburgh closer David Bednar, who was placed on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to Thursday) Sunday with a strained left oblique muscle.

Bednar, 29, is 3-3 with 16 saves and a 5.17 ERA in 34 relief appearances. He had a National League-leading 39 saves in 2023.

“We believe it’s a minor thing, but it’s just not quite good enough to take the risk of putting him in a game,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington told 93.7 The Fan. “Obviously, he’s really important to us and we need him for the biggest part of the season.”

Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds was 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk in the loss Sunday. His single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 20 games — the longest by a Pittsburgh player since Jason Kendall in 2004. The rest of Pittsburgh’s lineup was 1-for-26 with three walks.

–Field Level Media

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