Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/2/13
The federal government and the Cincinnati Reds both shut down Tuesday and the Reds won’t be back until next April. In actuality Pittsburgh Pirates left hander Francisco Liriano shut down the Reds in the National League wild-card game holding them to four hits in a 6-2 victory at PNC Park. On the other side the Johnny Cueto Comeback Story was a bust. He couldn’t keep his pitches below the belt so both Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin belted second-inning home runs. That launched the Pirates onward and upward and Cueto survived only 3 1/3 innings giving up four runs seven hits and a walk. Significantly he didn’t strike anybody out. So while the Pirates fly to St. Louis to play the National League Division Series the Reds scatter hither and yon for deep sea fishing deer hunting golf outings and backyard barbecues after one game. Liriano came into the game with an 8-1 record at home with a 1.46 ERA and it was quickly evident he was going make this one a keeper too. He retired the first nine Reds in three innings and not one ball reached the outfield. For his seven innings he retired 14 batters on ground balls and five on strikeouts. Only two outs reached the outfield of the 21 batters he retired. The Reds finished with only six hits three by heavily criticized Ryan Ludwick. "This hurts and hurts a lot" said Ludwick. "You can't sugar coat it though. We got totally outplayed in all facets of the game. How many opportunities do you get (to make the playoffs) and we may not get that opportunity again. We’re going home which is unfortunate. But it’s all over now." Their one big opportunity to put multiple runs on the board came in the fourth inning when they trailed 3-0. Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch and Ludwick singled. But Joey Votto (0 for 4 two strikeouts) struck out and Brandon Phillips (0 for 4) grounded out putting two on with two out. Jay Bruce -- 0 for 12 with seven strikeouts against Liriano -- jabbed a single into left field for a run but Todd Frazier struck out. "They played well they beat us with no tricks. They just played better -- that was obvious and apparent" said Bruce. "We just have to play better beginning next year." After Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin hit home runs in the second inning for a 2-0 lead (Martin would later hit another home run) the highly amped crowd was in a frenzy. "They were solo home runs and we weren't dead in the water but we were never able to get anything going" Bruce added. "It goes back to no big innings no big hits. We have to find a way to get better." Votto had three hits and three walks in the four straight losses to the Pirates and failed to get on base Tuesday. "One of those games just one of those games" said Votto.
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