CINCINNATI (AP) — Rookie Tyler Stephenson hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a doubleheader on Monday.
With two out and the bases empty, rookie Jose Garcia singled to left against Sam Howard (2-2). Manager David Bell then sent Stephenson up to hit for Shogo Akiyama, and the catcher hit a drive to left for his second homer.
The 24-year-old Stephenson lifted his batting helmet off his head with his left hand and pumped both arms in the sir before being swarmed by teammates at the plate.
“I had one of these at High A, but this was so much more exciting,” Stephenson said. ”(Coach) Freddie (Benavides) told me right before that, if Jose gets on, I’m going to pinch-hit. I had been hitting in the cage all game, but that time I didn’t get a chance to put my gloves on because it was the next pitch he got a hit.”
Howard was in his second inning of work, but he was facing the bottom of Cincinnati’s lineup.
“We had the matchups we liked,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “He did a good job. Garcia got the hit. He got a breaking ball up to Stephenson, and he got it up and out of the ballpark. He didn’t execute a pitch.”
Trevor Bauer and Cincinnati carried a 1-0 lead into the seventh, but Colin Moran led off with his eighth homer. Bauer had retired 14 consecutive batters before Moran’s towering fly ball into the seats in right.
“I went from hating my life for giving up that home run — analyzing everything I did wrong,” Bauer said. “I was looking for something to break our way. I’m really happy for (Stephenson).”
Bauer, who was trying for his third seven-inning shutout of the pandemic-shortened season, was pulled with one out and two on. Raisel Iglesias (3-3) then struck out pinch-hitter Gregory Polanco and John Ryan Murphy.
Bauer allowed four hits, struck out 12 and walked two. The right-hander is one of the top candidates for the NL Cy Young Award.
Pittsburgh starter Cody Ponce also turned in a solid outing, allowing one hit in four innings. But that one hit was Joey Votto’s opposite-field drive to left that glanced off the yellow padding along the top of the wall and into the seats for his eighth homer.
The Reds loaded the bases against Chris Stratton with two outs in the fifth on singles by Tucker Barnhart and Garcia and Akiyama’s second walk of the game, but Nick Castellanos lined out to Bryan Reynolds in deep center field.
Moran’s tying drive in the opener was the first homer by a current Pirate off Bauer.
Cincinnati’s Nick Senzel started in center field and went 0 for 3 in his first game in exactly one month. The second-overall selection in the 2016 draft was placed on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 14 with an undisclosed issue.
Pirates: Between games, RHP Kyle Crick was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained lat. Mitch Keller was reinstated from the IL after being sidelined by a left oblique injury. Keller was set to start the second game of the doubleheader.
Reds: RHP Matt Bowman will undergo Tommy John surgery later this week, Bell said. Bowman went on the injured list on July 30. The Reds removed Bowman from the 60-man player pool on Monday.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (0-4) was slated to start Tuesday. He threw four scoreless innings against the White Sox last Tuesday in his second start since coming off the injured list. He had been sidelined by right triceps inflammation.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (1-2, 7.20 ERA) is the Game 2 starter for Cincinnati. After 242 consecutive relief appearances, RHP Michael Lorenzen (1-1) makes his first start on Tuesday since Sept. 16, 2015, at San Francisco.