Pirates sweep Reds to run winning streak to 9
CINCINNATI — Corey Dickerson and the Pirates are so hot even Ivan Nova is contributing at the plate.
Dickerson homered for the fourth time in three days, and the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds, 9-2, on Sunday for their ninth consecutive victory.
Dickerson and Starling Marte hit back-to-back homers off Matt Harvey during the Pirates’ four-run second.
Dickerson’s two-run shot extended his homer streak to four straight games, becoming the first Pirate to accomplish the feat since Josh Harrison in 2014.
Dickerson went 4 for 5 and finished the series with 21 total bases, helping the Pirates outscore the Reds by a combined 27-5. Gregory Polanco and Sean Rodriguez also went deep as the Pirates completed their first sweep of the Reds since Sept. 27-29, 2013.
“The bats showed up,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Really, everything did, but the offense was out in front of things. We did some damage early today.”
Harvey (5-6) was tagged for eight runs and eight hits in 3 2 ⁄ 3 innings. The right-hander is expected to be traded ahead of the July 31 nonwaiver deadline.
Harvey hadn’t allowed a home run in six starts before surrendering four against the Pirates.
“When you don’t execute pitches and leave stuff over the middle of the plate, a hot team is going to make you pay,” he said. “I went back and looked at the tape. The slider wasn’t doing a whole lot, and the fastball was coming back over the plate.”
Last-place Cincinnati has lost four in a row for the first time since June 2-6.
“We came out of the break not firing on all cylinders,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “It is disappointing, but there will be times in 162 games where you’re not firing on all cylinders. We have to push the reset button and get started tomorrow.”
The Pirates collected 15 hits in their 11th win in 12 games and moved two games above .500 for the first time since they was 30-28 on June 2. It’s the longest win streak for the Pirates since they also won nine in a row in June 2013.
Polanco’s two-run shot in the first landed deep in the right-field seats. He also drove in Dickerson with a single in the fourth, extending the Pirates’ lead to 8-0.
It was more than enough for Nova (6-6), who allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2 ⁄ 3 innings. The right-hander also singled off the wall in right-center in the sixth, stopping his hitless slide at 63 at-bats.
“Finally,” he said. “That’s one of the cooler moments I’ve had in baseball. Everybody was cheering for the base hit. Some of the guys asked me why I didn’t have a double, but I was OK with a base hit.”
Phillip Ervin had two hits and two RBIs for Cincinnati. Jose Peraza also had two of the Reds’ six hits.
Marte extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. It’s the majors’ longest active streak.
Nova improved to 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA in eight starts since coming off the disabled list June 10. He was sidelined by a sprained right ring finger.
Nova advanced Max Moroff to second base in the second with a sacrifice. Reds first baseman Joey Votto had a play at second, but his high throw pulled shortstop Jose Peraza off the bag. Peraza still had time to throw Nova out at first, completing a 3-6-4 sacrifice.