CINCINNATI — Jordy Mercer had an RBI single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, David Freese added a two-run single, and the Pittsburgh Pirates overcame some shaky defense to preserve their chances in the NL wild-card race with a 9-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
The Pirates loaded the bases against Tony Cingrani (2-5) with a walk and two infield hits before Mercer snapped a 6-6 tie with a single to left. Freese singled to center two batters later.
Gregory Polanco and Jung Ho Kang homered to help the Pirates to their third win in four games after a four-game losing streak. Pittsburgh remained 5 1/2 games behind the New York Mets for the NL’s second wild card.
Antonio Bastardo (3-0) pitched a perfect ninth and Tony Watson allowed Steve Selsky’s first career home run before finishing up for his 13th save.
The teams combined to use 15 pitchers.
Polanco followed Andrew McCutchen’s RBI double with a two-run homer to right in the first, his first since Aug. 29.
After Brandon Phillips’ RBI single in the first, Ramon Cabrera tied the game 3-3 with a two-run homer in the second. Robert Stephenson hit Kang with a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead in the fifth.
Scott Schebler cashed in on two Pittsburgh fielding gaffes with a tie-breaking triple to give the Reds a 6-4 lead in the fifth.
Joey Votto singled with one out in the sixth for a 4-4 tie. One out later, Brandon Phillips reached when pitcher Ryan Vogelsong dropped first baseman John Jaso’s throw for an error. Schebler followed with a line drive to center field that McCutchen uncharacteristically misplayed, allowing it to sail past him and roll to the wall for a two-run triple.
Kang tied the game with a two-run homer in the seventh off Blake Wood.
Pirates: Continuing low back problems kept LF Starling Marte out of Friday’s starting lineup. Marte hasn’t played since Sept. 5.
Reds: A day off on Thursday wasn’t enough for SS Zack Cozart’s right knee to improve enough to play. Cozart hasn’t played because of soreness in the surgically repaired knee since being scratched from Sunday’s starting lineup.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (1-1) is scheduled to make his first major league start in the second game of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader. RHP James Taillon (3-4) is the first-game starter.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (8-3) can match the career high for wins he set last season in doubleheader’s first game. LHP Robert Finnegan (9-10) is scheduled to start the second game.