PITTSBURGH (AP) — Troy Stokes Jr. drove in runs with each of his first two major league hits, JT Brubaker pitched six strong innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates finally beat the Cincinnati Reds, 7-2 on Tuesday night.
Two days after making his debut, Stokes hit an RBI single in the fourth inning. The right fielder also doubled in a run in the eighth.
“It’s funny but last night I really didn’t sleep,” said Stokes, who was hitless in his first nine at-bats. “I’d be lying to say it didn’t weigh on me a little bit, but now that it’s over it feels great. Getting RBIs on both hits, that’s kind of like icing on the cake. I just wanted to get my first knock.”
Brubaker (3-2) allowed one run on five hits to win for the first time in four starts. He had four strikeouts and one walk while lowering his ERA to 2.58.
“He’s attacking hitters. He’s going right after people,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Brubaker, who has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts this season. “I think with young pitchers, it’s kind of a learned thing and it’s something he was challenged on and he’s stepped up and did a good job.”
The Pirates had lost eight straight games to the Reds, including all four this season by a combined score of 44-9. Pittsburgh has won three of its past 12 overall.
“Every starter wants to go out there and the be the stopper,” Brubaker said. “We’ve been on the short end of the stick a lot against the Reds and just to be able to show we can get them out was a big momentum shift for us.”
NL batting leader Jesse Winker homered and doubled twice for Cincinnati to raise his average to .374. His solo shot in the third inning off Brubaker tied the score at 1-all.
Jeff Hoffman (2-3) lasted four innings, giving up three runs and four hits while striking out four and walking two. Hoffman is winless in his last four starts and fell to 0-3 in three career starts against Pittsburgh.
“There were some good things but then he got behind in the count a little bit too much and had to work a little bit harder than you would like to see,” Reds manager David Bell said.
The Pirates’ Adam Frazier had two hits, including a two-run homer in the eighth off Sean Doolittle, his first of the season. Frazier has a 12-game hitting streak, matching a career best.
The Pirates moved in front 3-1 with a two-run fourth inning. Kevin Newman knocked in a run with a triple to the left-center field wall and scored on Stokes’ single to left.
Phillip Evans hit a run-scoring double in the fifth.
Winker’s second double of the game in the eighth scored Nick Senzel, who also had three hits, and got the Reds within 4-2.
Stokes got the run back in the bottom of the inning by pulling a double down the left-field line.
GARRETT BAN BEGINS
Reds left-handed reliever Amir Garrett began serving a five-game suspension.
Garrett was originally suspended for seven games by Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing incident May 1 against the Chicago Cubs. The ban was reduced to five games Tuesday following an agreement between MLB and the players’ union.
“We’re going to miss him,” Bell said. “No use really dwelling on it at this point. We’ll try to keep him working.”
Garrett can take part in pregame workouts but must be out of uniform when games begin.
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco was activated from the injured list after missing a week following a violation of MLB’s health and safety protocols. He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. … RHP Kyle Crick was placed on the 10-day IL with a right triceps strain. … LHP Chasen Shreve was selected from Triple-A Indianapolis and OF/INF Hunter Owen was designated for assignment.
The three-game series concludes Wednesday with Reds RHP Sonny Gray (0-2, 3.92 ERA) looking for his first win of the season. He pitched seven scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox in his last start. The Pirates will go with RHP Trevor Cahill (1-4, 6.75).
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