Joey Votto powers Reds past reeling Pirates 8-7

Posted at 10:05 AM, Sep 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-11 10:17:35-04

PITTSBURGH -- Joey Votto celebrated his 33rd birthday with four hits, including a home run, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the collapsing Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 on Saturday night.

Votto led off the ninth inning with his 23rd homer, a drive to right off Juan Nicasio that gave the Reds a two-run cushion.

The 2010 NL MVP is hitting .427 in 51 games since the All-Star break and could become the first major leaguer to hit .400 in the second half since Ichiro Suzuki had a .429 average in 2004 with the Seattle Mariners.

The Pirates' flickering hopes of a fourth consecutive postseason berth took another hit as they dropped 5 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card with their 10th loss in 12 games.