Lose to Pirates, slide in wild-card race

PITTSBURGH – Either a six-run deficit to the Pittsburgh Pirates will serve as a low point in the Cincinnati Reds’ playoff race or it was a sign of things to come.

This is a Reds team that played Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” after home wins earlier in the season, but they can change their tune to “Free Fallin’” after a 6-5 loss to the 91-loss Pirates on Tuesday at PNC Park.

It was just the second time the Reds lost to the Pirates in their 11 games this year. The Reds had outscored them, 82-26, in their previous 10 meetings. Now, they're in danger of dropping their seventh consecutive series and they've lost 11 of their last 15 games. 

Manager David Bell went around the visiting clubhouse after Tuesday's loss to tell players, "It's going to turn. I can feel it." There may be guys pressing throughout the Reds' dugout, but they remain upbeat as a group. 

"It's one of those things where we can't panic," Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said. "We're still in a situation where we can still win this series and we can still win ballgames moving forward and get to where we want to be. It's just not going our way right now."

Sep 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) can not field a ball hit for an infield single by Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman  Wilmer Difo (not pictured) during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds entered Tuesday tied in the loss column with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, a three-way tie with less than three weeks remaining in the season.

Wade Miley, who has stepped up so often during losing streaks, didn’t have many things break his way. He allowed 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs in the first inning. It was the third time in his last five starts he’s failed to complete at least five innings.

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