CINCINNATI — So many things went right that the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t pick just one pleasing moment.
Sean Rodriguez homered in both games, and Andrew McCutchen had a bases-loaded single as the Pirates beat the Reds 7-3 on Saturday night for their first doubleheader sweep in Cincinnati since 1990.
In the first game, Jameson Taillon pitched five innings and singled to drive in a big league run for the first time during a 10-4 win that officially eliminated the Reds from postseason contention.
“Nothing pleases me the most,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “There’s a bunch of things that pleased me. Our offense continued to show up in both games.”
The Pirates have won the first three games of the series, moving back to 74-74. They opened the day with a 5½-game gap and three teams to overtake for a wild-card berth.
McCutchen drove in three runs in the opener and had a bases-loaded single in the nightcap off left-hander Brandon Finnegan (9-11), who lasted only 2 1/3 innings. Rodriguez hit a solo homer, adding to his two-run shot in the first game. Pittsburgh has scored 41 runs in the last four games.
The Reds helped by walking nine batters after giving up 10 walks in the opener.
“It’s not up to standards,” manager Bryan Price said. “We’ve given up a lot of runs in this series and most of them in large part because we’re not throwing the ball over the plate consistently. Walks have started rallies and continued rallies. It slows the tempo of the game. It wasn’t a highlight day by any means.”
Cincinnati’s Scott Schebler and Ramon Cabrera homered off rookie starter Trevor Williams, who failed to retire any of the four batters he faced in the fifth inning. Juan Nicasio (10-6) didn’t allow a hit in two innings.
Williams had made two relief appearances before getting to start again. He left after throwing 56 pitches, the result of not starting for a while.
“I needed a shutdown inning (in the fifth) and that didn’t happen for me,” he said. “I was running out of gas.”
In the opener, Taillon (4-4) gave up Adam Duvall’s three-run homer during his five innings. His RBI single to center in the fifth made it 7-3, although he didn’t realize initially that it would drive in a run.
“Actually I was so caught up in trying to get to first base and not doing anything stupid,” he said. “The first major league RBI is pretty cool. I hope I’m doing with all of the career ‘firsts’ now.”
The Pirates skipped Taillon’s previous turn in the rotation, trying to limit the rookie’s innings. He missed the 2014 and ’15 seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery and an operation to repair a hernia.
Pittsburgh sent nine batters to the plate in a 17-minute top of the first inning against Anthony DeSclafani (8-4), scoring four times with the help of three walks and the first of a six combined errors in the game.
The first pitch was delayed 62 minutes because of rain. The doubleheader, the first between the teams since a Reds sweep on Aug. 31, 2009, made up a May 10 postponement.
The Reds have allowed 238 homers, one shy of the NL mark (2001 Rockies) and three shy of the major league record (1996 Tigers). The bullpen already has set a major league record with 94 homers allowed, two more than the previous mark by the 1964 Kansas City Athletics.
Pittsburgh’s Matt Joyce drew his 21st walk as a pinch-hitter this season, a major league record. …Nicasio has fanned at least one batter in 29 straight appearances, a single-season record for Pirates relievers. The next-longest streak is Aroldis Chapman’s 37 games in 2014.
Pirates: C Fransicso Cervelli took a foul tip off the inside of his right leg in the opener. After several painful minutes of recuperating, he stayed in the game. … Starling Marte didn’t play in either game because of a sore back.
Reds: SS Zack Cozart sat out both games with a sore right knee. He’s missed the last seven.
Pirates: Ivan Nova (12-6) starts the final game of the series on Sunday. He’s 5-0 with a 2.41 ERA in eight starts since the Pirates acquired him in a trade with the Yankees.
Reds: Dan Straily (12-8) will make his fifth start of the season against the Pirates. He’s 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA against Pittsburgh.
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