Joey Votto has two home runs for Cincinnati Reds win over Pittsburgh

When the Cincinnati Reds beat the San Diego Padres on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning on July 1, Reds first baseman Joey Votto told shortstop Kyle Farmer and catcher Tyler Stephenson they just saved the Reds' season with their RBI that gave the team the lead.

Over two months later, in the Reds game on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati was three games back in the NL Wild Card race. The Pirates took an early five-run lead. In the series opener against one of the worst teams in baseball, the season was approaching the brink.

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This time, Votto orchestrated a comeback that appeared to be just as significant. As the Reds beat the Pirates, 9-5, Votto homered twice to bring the team back from a 5-0 deficit.

Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto reacts as he runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Cincinnati, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Through the first three innings, the Reds were on the ropes. Rookie starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez allowed back-to-back home runs in the top of the first inning. The Pirates jumped on his fastball, and Gutierrez never found a way to throw that pitch past the Pirates.

Then to open the third inning, Gutierrez walked the opposing pitcher on four straight fastballs. His start continued to snowball, allowing three more runs to cross the plate. Gutierrez got out of the inning with a double play, but he has failed to make it out of the fourth inning in four of his last five starts.

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