After stunning the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of this three-game set, the Cincinnati Reds are looking for more.
Manager Clint Hurdle's club, meanwhile, is hoping to quickly move on.
The visiting Reds go for a fifth consecutive win Saturday night against the fellow wild card-leading Pirates, who are headed in the wrong direction with the playoffs fast approaching.
Cincinnati (88-66) appeared headed for defeat before storming back in Friday's 6-5, 10-inning victory. Billy Hamilton continued his recent treachery on the basepaths during a three-run ninth-inning rally, and Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th to help the Reds pull even with Pittsburgh (88-66) atop the NL wild-card standings. Both clubs sit two games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis.
"That's really uncommon, really rare, and for us to have done that in a game like this, against this squad ... that makes it even more rare and pretty impressive," Votto said. "Guys just strung together a bunch of tough at_bats."
Hamilton, who entered as a pinch-runner, stole second before coming around to score on Devin Mesoraco's infield single. The speedster has only received eight at_bats, but he has 10 stolen bases in as many tries since getting called up Sept. 2.
"(Hamilton) is not just a track star. He's a baseball player who can steal bases," Hurdle told the Pirates' official website. "This guy is a good young player."
While Cincinnati has outscored opponents 28-11 during its winning streak, the Pirates have hit .219 in dropping four of five.
"Who said it was going to be easy?" Hurdle said. "We've been very good winning as a team, losing as a team ... we've got to find a way to finish things off."
Things aren't about to get any easier against Homer Bailey (11-10, 3.40 ERA), who has had the Pirates' number over the course of his career. The right-hander has gone 8-3 while recording a 2.66 ERA and two shutouts, including a no-hitter last September 28 in his most recent visit to PNC Park. Pedro Alvarez has managed two hits in 15 at_bats in their matchups, and Jordy Mercer is 1 for 10.
Bailey has also shined during a nine-start stretch overall, earning a career-high six consecutive wins while posting a 2.60 ERA. He allowed three runs in seven innings in Saturday's 7-3 victory at Milwaukee, moving above .500 for the first time since winning his season debut April 5.
"As long as we win at the end of the day, I couldn't care less what my record is," he told MLB's official website.
The Pirates counter with A.J. Burnett (8-11, 3.43), who took a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up both runs in Monday's 2-0 loss to San Diego. The right-hander had surrendered at least five runs in four of his previous seven starts.
He's 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his last four home outings.
Burnett had won four consecutive starts against Cincinnati before going 0-3 in his last four despite a 2.81 ERA. He yielded five runs - two earned - and a season-high 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings in a 5-4 road loss July 20.
Jay Bruce is 2 for his last 19 with eight strikeouts in their matchups, and Todd Frazier and Ryan Hanigan are a combined 2 for 21.
Mercer is 12 for 30 (.400) with six doubles in his last nine games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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