With playoff aspirations fading, Reds host Pirates

National Sports

The Cincinnati Reds are clinging to the faintest of hopes for a postseason berth.

With absolutely zero margin for error, the Reds (81-75) will host a makeup game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (58-97) on Monday afternoon. The contest initially was postponed last Wednesday due to inclement weather.

Cincinnati, which has won 11 of 15 encounters with Pittsburgh this season, captured the final three contests of its recent four-game series against the Washington Nationals. The Reds reside six games behind the surging St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild-card spot in the National League with six games to play.

“All these games are important,” Reds manager David Bell said following Sunday’s 9-2 victory over the Nationals. “We are focused on each day to finish strong.”

Kyle Farmer, who belted a grand slam on Sunday, went 5-for-9 with a solo homer and three runs scored in two games against Pittsburgh last week.

Tyler Stephenson launched a two-run homer to highlight his three-hit, three-RBI performance on Sunday. The catcher fell a triple shy of the cycle, as unlikely as he admitted that it would be.

“I didn’t think about the cycle until (outfielder TJ) Friedl said something to me, but someone would have to break a leg in the outfield for me to get a triple,” Stephenson said.

Cincinnati will turn to Reiver Sanmartin to make his major-league debut on Monday. He will be called up from Triple-A Louisville prior to the game to replace fellow left-hander Wade Miley, who is nursing a strained neck.

Sanmartin, 25, has posted a 10-2 record with a 3.32 ERA in 25 games (17 starts) this season at Louisville and Double-A Chattanooga. He has struck out 112 batters while walking 28 in 100 1/3 innings in 2021.

The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Sanmartin was part of the Sonny Gray trade to the New York Yankees prior to the start of the 2019 season. He was a prospect at Class-A at the time.

While the Reds are entertaining the slimmest of postseason chances, the Pirates’ bid for the playoffs ended long ago. Pittsburgh, however, dealt the Philadelphia Phillies a blow by posting a 6-0 win on Sunday in the finale of a four-game series.

Cole Tucker set the tone by depositing the first pitch of the game over the wall in right field. The homer was his first of the season.

“It was awesome,” Tucker said. “It was euphoric. It felt good, especially because it kind of held up for a moment. I was like, ‘Are we really going to win this one, 1-0?’ But we ended up doing more — Ke’Bryan (Hayes) had more to say about that.”

Hayes had a two-run double into the right-field corner to highlight his two-hit performance on Sunday. He is batting a robust .394 (13-for-33) in the season series against Cincinnati.

The Pirates have yet to announce a starter for Monday’s game, which serves as their final road contest of the season.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories