PITTSBURGH -- An odd bottom of the 12th inning ended with the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrating a walk-off walk and Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price fuming.
Russell Martin drew a bases-loaded walk from Tony Cingrani with two outs to force in the winning run as the Pirates beat the Reds 4-3 on Thursday.
"I was going to make him throw strikes," Martin said. "I think we got a fortunate call on that 3-1 count but it’s nice to have a call go our way for once."
Price and Cingrani both felt the last pitch should have been called a strike by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook.
"We're in the 12th inning of a ballgame and the strike zone had already been established," Price said. "The low strike had been called, and to the credit of the home plate umpire, consistently to no advantage of either team.
"And to have that pitch right there, it split the plate at the bottom of the strike zone that had been established and called ball four. I'm not saying we would have won this game, but it certainly didn't give us an opportunity to go out there and compete in the 13th."
The five-pitch walk concluded what was a small ball inning for the Pirates.
First baseman Gaby Sanchez singled with one out off of the left-handed Cingrani (2-8) and took second on a balk. Third baseman Josh Harrison was intentionally walked before shortstop Jordy Mercer struck out for the second out.
However, Cingrani hit second baseman Clint Barmes with a pitch to load the bases then walked Martin, the catcher, as the Pirates snapped a three-game losing streak.
"We wanted to be patiently aggressive in the strike zone," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were able to take advantage of some situations. The kid out there, he starts spraying a little bit so we wanted to maintain discipline."
The Reds were also upset about the balk call by first base umpire Jerry Layne, believing it changed the complexion of the inning.
"I’ve done that move a million times and they just pick and choose when they call it," Cingrani said. "And they never give you an explanation."
Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco hit a solo home run, his 10th of the season, off closer Jason Grilli with one out in the ninth inning to tie the score at 3-3 and force extra innings. It was Grilli’s third blown save in 14 opportunities.
Barmes had the eighth four-hit game of his career but first since 2009. Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco and left fielder Starling Marte added two hits each.
Polanco became the first player in Pirates’ history to have a hit in each of the first nine games of his major league career. He is hitting .395 with nine runs scored and six RBIs since being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Marte extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Left-hander Justin Wilson (2-0) pitched a scoreless 12th for the win.
Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke gave up two runs and three hits in six innings, walking one and striking out two.
Cincinnati right-hander Homer Bailey allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one as the Reds (35-36) lost for just the second time in eight games and failed to move over .500 for the first time this season.
Bailey has not beaten the Pirates in six starts since throwing a no-hitter against them in 2012.
Cincinnati third baseman Todd Frazier had three hits and shortstop Zack Cozart added two.
NOTES: The game was delayed in the bottom of the sixth inning for 35 minutes because of rain. ... Cincinnati LF Ryan Ludwick was a late scratch from the starting lineup with tightness in his lower back but was able to pinch-hit in the seventh inning. … Pittsburgh RHP Gerrit Cole is on track to be activated from the disabled list June 28 to start against the New York Mets. He has been sidelined since June 4 with shoulder fatigue. … Pirates 2B Neil Walker, who is recovering from an appendectomy, will play in a simulated game Friday at Bradenton, Florida, against minor league pitchers then begin a rehab assignment with Class A Bradenton on Sunday. … The Reds host the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series with RHP Mat Latos (0-0, 0.00) facing RHP R.A. Dickey (6-5, 4.08), while the Pirates open a three-game series Friday afternoon at Chicago against the Cubs with RHP Charlie Morton (4-7, 3.09) opposing RHP Edwin Jackson (4-7, 5.11).