Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6) at Cincinnati Reds (4-8)
Wednesday, April 16 - 12:35 PM EST
Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates have combined for 13 home runs in the first two games of the series, with the team clubbing the most taking each of the contests. The Reds try to make it two straight when they host the rubber game on Wednesday. The Pirates rode three sets of back-to-back home runs and a pair of RBI singles to an 8-7 win in the opener, while Cincinnati got a pair of two-run blasts in a 7-5 win in the second game.
Pittsburgh's Neil Walker is leading the charge with three home runs in the two games - the first of which was suspended by rain on Monday night before concluding on Tuesday. Reds slugger Todd Frazier is right behind with a two-run homer in each contest, including a go-ahead blast in Tuesday’s win. Pirates All-Star Andrew McCutchen has been held out of the home run fun but made his mark with an RBI single in the first game and a run scored in the second.
TV: 12:35 p.m. ET, MLBN, ROOT Sports (Pittsburgh), FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Francisco Liriano (0-2, 4.00 ERA) vs. Reds RH Johnny Cueto (0-2, 2.14)
Liriano tossed six scoreless frames in his season debut on March 31 but has allowed four runs in each of his last two turns. The Dominican surrendered a total of three home runs in those two losses but continued to rack up a high strikeout total and has fanned 21 in 18 total innings. Liriano allowed one run over seven frames against the Reds to win the National League wild-card playoff game last October but was 0-3 with a 3.70 ERA in four regular-season starts versus the division rivals in 2013.
Cueto is looking for a little run support after surrendering two or fewer runs in each of his first three starts without coming up with a win. The 28-year-old worked seven innings in each of those three turns and but has received a total of four runs of support. Cueto went up against Liriano in the wild-card game last fall and suffered the loss while yielding four runs on eight hits - two home runs - in 3 1/3 frames.
1. Reds C Devin Mesoraco is 11-for-22 with three home runs in six games.
2. Walker has five home runs in his last three games in Cincinnati.
3. Cincinnati 1B Joey Votto went 4-for-4 on Tuesday and has five RBIs and five runs scored in the last three games.
PREDICTION: Reds 3, Pirates 2