PITTSBURGH (AP) - Kevin Correia is convinced he can pitch effectively at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates starter also knows, however, that he's running out of time this season to prove it.
Correia struggled again at home on Friday night, getting knocked around for six runs in six innings of an eventual 11-8 loss to Cincinnati.
A late Pittsburgh rally allowed Correia to get off the hook for the defeat. It proved little solace to the veteran right-hander, whose ERA rose to 7.75 in 12 games on the hill at the quirky ballpark along the Allegheny River.
``I still don't believe it's a home and road thing,' Correia said. ``I'm completely comfortable throwing the ball here. I've pitched well in the majority of my starts but I've had too many big innings.'
Correia gave up six runs and eight hits - including three home runs - in six innings, walking one and striking out one to continue his Jekyll-and-Hyde season.
The 30-year-old is among the best starters in baseball on the road. His 10 victories away from home lead the majors. His record remains 2-8 at home.
He's not sure what the issue is, but he got some unexpected help in the video room on Friday when manager Clint Hurdle was ejected in the fifth for arguing balls and strikes. Hurdle took the time to review Correia's mechanics.
``When he makes a mistake he gets hit,' Hurdle said. ``There's no misses, no line drives at somebody. They're all squared up.'
Hurdle and Correia missed a wild finish in which Pittsburgh clawed out of a four-run deficit to tie the game at 8-all only to watch it slip away in the ninth thanks to an uncharacteristically sloppy performance from All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan (0-2).
The burly right-hander issued a leadoff walk to Joey Votto in the ninth and never recovered, giving up three runs while managing to get just one out.
``It just boils down to a leadoff walk right there,' Hanrahan said. ``You can't have that in a situation like that. You've got to get the first out and go from there.'
The Pirates had hoped to give Hanrahan the ball with the lead, but some overly aggressive baserunning cost the chance.
Pittsburgh runners were thrown out at home twice in the eighth. Garrett Jones was easily gunned down while trying to score from second on a single by Andrew McCutchen, and McCutchen met the same fate three batters later when Cincinnati center fielder Drew Stubbs' perfect throw prevented the speedy McCutchen from scoring on a shallow fly ball by Ryan Ludwick.
``Stubby saved the game,' Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. ``That's one of best center fielders around right there. He gets good reads and breaks on balls and he gunned down one of the quickest men in this league.'
Hurdle defended the decision to send both runners.
``(Sending Jones) didn't work out and I don't think there's any doubt you send McCutchen when you've got a chance there to put the run in and be on top,' Hurdle said.
Brandon Phillips went 3 for 5 with a home run and four RBIs for Cincinnati. Ryan Hanigan added a solo shot and drove in two insurance runs in the ninth off Hanrahan.
``The way it kept going back and forth, it was like a tennis match out there,' Phillips said. ``I'm just glad we came out on top.'
It was a wild end to an eventful day for Cincinnati. Storms knocked out the electricity at the team's hotel on Thursday night, rattling the normally unflappable Phillips.
``It was crazy when we first got in,' Phillips said. ``You're going to a hotel where you have no AC and no lights. I could have sworn somebody was in my room at one point. I'm not going to lie to you, I was scared.'
Travis Wood (6-5) picked up the win in relief. Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect ninth inning to collect his 25th save.
Brandon Wood broke out of a lengthy slump, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs for Pittsburgh. McCutchen, Jones, Jose Tabata and Ronny Cedeno also had two hits apiece for the Pirates but Pittsburgh couldn't quite get over the top.
``We kept fighting, we kept scratching and clawing,' Hurdle said. ``We kept finding a way to get back in it to tie it up. We were one punch away from creating some serious separation.'
NOTES: The game started after a 41-minute rain delay. ... Wood snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a single to lead off the sixth. ... The series continues Saturday. Charlie Morton (9-6, 3.43 ERA) gets the start for Pittsburgh. Morton is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA against the Reds this year. Dontrelle Willis (0-3, 4.08) starts for the Reds. Willis left his last start against San Diego with a sore left forearm but was OK'd to pitch after an MRI revealed no significant injury.
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