September 17 (WNN) — The Cincinnati Reds used Asdrumble Cabrera’s seventh-inning sacrificial fly and a pristine Tyler Mahley pitcher performance to thrash the Pittsburgh Pirates 1–0 and consolidate the National League wild card race.
Mahle allowed five hits in six shutout innings for the win at Cincinnati’s PNC Park on Thursday.
“It means a lot,” Cabrera told reporters. “That’s what I’m here to do: help the team win.”
The Reds (76–71) are just one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals (76–69) for second and final place in the wild card standings. The Los Angeles Dodgers (94-53) own first place and made it to the playoffs earlier this week.
The San Diego Padres are half a game behind the Cardinals in the wild card race.
Mahle and Pirates starter Conor Overton took the first three innings to keep the game scoreless. Mahle remained in the game for another three innings, but the Pirates went to their bullpen for the final six innings.
Pirates relief pitcher Sam Howard scored fourth. Fellow reliever Cody Ponce then retired the next six consecutive raid batsmen, but ran into trouble in the seventh.
The right-handed pitcher allowed Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson to double the leadoff. He ran Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer in his second exchange of the innings. Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama carried the runners-up with a sacrificial bunt.
Cabrera hit Ponce’s next pitch, an 80.6-mph curveball, into left field. The sacrificial fly allowed pinch runner Delino DeShields to score from third base.
Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and retired the Pirates down the order.
Lorenzen was replaced by Mychal Givens in the bottom of the ninth. He dismissed Pirates first baseman Colin Moran in the first bat of the half-inning. He then issued successive walks to left fielder Ben Gammel and shortstop Kevin Newman.
Givens retired the last two Pirates hitters to take the win and earn his eighth save of the season.
Gammel and Pirates third baseman K’Brien Hayes recorded two hits each in the defeat. The Pirates trapped 19 runners on the base.
Overton allowed two hits in three scoreless innings, but was not on record for the decision. Stephenson, Farmer and first baseman Joey Votto were the only players to reach base twice for the Reds. Each of them logged a hit and a walk.
The Reds host the Dodgers on Friday at 7:10 p.m. EDT at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The Pirates will face the Miami Marlins at 7:10 p.m. EDT Friday at Loandepot Park in Miami.