Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Every win the Bucs manage to get against the Reds this season is going to feel great, and this was certainly a nice way to start.  Team leaders A.J. Burnett and Andrew McCutchen led the way in knocking off the NL Central favorites and starting this weekend’s series off right. Burnett managed to meet the requirements for a quality start, but just barely (6 innings, 3 runs). This was the first game in which he finished the sixth inning this year, and he continues to strike out batters at an absurd pace – 8 tonight, good for a 14.3 K/9 in the early going. AJ grooved a fastball to Brandon Phillips in the second inning, and Phillips dispatched it over the CF fence for a bomb. That was his only big mistake, but he did give up a couple of walks (3 on the day) and some well-timed hits to let the Reds back into the game once the Bucs had built a solid lead. Not a great outing for AJ, but certainly not a bad one and good enough on this night. But how about that Bucco offense! Seven hits in the first two innings! The Bucs were all over Mike Leake early, notching a run in the first on a Russell Martin RBI single and then a bunch more in the second. Travis Snider, Clint Barmes, Neil Walker, McCutchen, and Garrett Jones all got in on the act. Starling Marte also led off with a hit for the sixth straight game and stole second easily, although he was thrown out at home later in the inning. Still, he helped the rally in the second by getting hit by a pitch (and he probably could’ve gotten out of the way). The Reds inched a bit closer in the middle innings, and the Bucco bats cooled off. Still, the lead felt fairly comfortable at 5-3 when AJ left after the sixth. Tony Watson came on for the seventh and became the first Pirate reliever this year to allow runs with a lead.  Watson was facing the top of the Reds order and got the lefties out, but he walked righty Chris Heisey and instead of pitching around Brandon Phillips with lefty Jay Bruce on deck, he grooved a fastball and Phillips took advantage yet again. Tie game. Bad bullpen management, bad situational pitching, and an all-around depressing moment as Phillips emphatically rounded the bases. McCutchen, however, had a quick answer for Phillips. He led off the bottom of the seventh with a line shot to the LF bleachers for his second bomb, untying the game just like that. Cutch is the man. The Bucs had a chance at adding on later in the inning, but couldn’t do so (I’m not sure why Hurdle didn’t PH for Clint Barmes with John McDonald available to replace him at short). Anyway, it didn’t matter because the back of the bullpen was awesome yet again. Mark Melancon pitched a lightning quick 1-2-3 eighth, just as he has done in seemingly every outing so far this year. Jason Grilli had an adventurous ninth, allowing a hit to bring up Joey Votto and a walk to Votto (though it looked like he had him struck out and didn’t get the call) to bring up Phillips, who had of course homered twice earlier in the game. But it was worth it, because Grilli struck Phillips out and subsequently delivered his usual epic fist pump. Great finish. The Bucs needed this win pretty badly with some tough pitching matchups on deck for the next two games, and after it was put in doubt it was great to see them take it back. It will take a solid all-around game to beat the Reds on most nights, and that’s what the Bucs delivered on Friday. Notes: Pedro Alvarez showed signs of encouragement tonight. He lined an opposite-field single, drew a walk against lefty reliever Manny Parra, and didn’t strike out all game. Every Pirate starter (minus Burnett) recorded a hit. The top four hitters in the order all had two hits. Tony Watson, who pitched one inning and lost a two run lead by allowing the game-tying homer, got the win. Burnett is still 0-2 despite a 3.71 ERA through 3 starts. Burnett threw 106 pitches in 6 innings. He still needs to be more efficient. Pirates 6, Reds 5 / Box / 2013 Record: 4-6 / Next: Saturday, vs. Reds, 7:05 Source: FanGraphs
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

Athletics deal Josh Donaldson to Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie

Ohio governor decrees playoff committee honorary Ohioans

Lance Stephenson becoming a problem with the Hornets?

Tony Romo: I promise I'll be better next week

Seahawks could wait to address Russell Wilson's contract

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: SMU football to hire Clemson offensive coordinator

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Hockey goalie rushes into stands to perform CPR on fan

49ers CEO Jed York apologizes for unacceptable performance

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Mavs' Aminu knocks padding off backboard with dunk

What if the Chargers refused to trade Eli Manning?

Why is there a red seat hanging in the Mall of America?

WATCH: Mickey Rourke TKO’d a man half his age in Moscow

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Five bold predictions for Week 13 in the NFL

Brady Quinn pens 'note' to Jets quarterback Geno Smith

Bills center Eric Wood gained 7.4 pounds at Thanksgiving

Cubs reliever somehow OK after being involved in awful accident

Seahawks players throw shade at 49ers after victory

Five takeaways from NFL's Thanksgiving Day action

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

What if the Chargers didn't trade Eli?

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Is Lance a problem for the Hornets?

5 NFL takeaways from Thanksgiving

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.