PITTSBURGH — Jesse Winker watched Cincinnati Reds teammate Scooter Gennett take batting practice Wednesday.
When Gennett sent a ball flying over the Clemente Wall and into the Allegheny River beyond right field at PNC Park, Winker caught himself thinking “Wow.”
Later Wednesday night, Winker crushed a home run into the last row above the right-field wall in the seventh inning, barely missing sending his own shot into the river.
It was Winker’s second in two days and proved to be the game-winner off newly acquired Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Joaquin Benoit that sent the Reds over the Pirates 5-2.
“I got a hold of it,” Winker said. “Scooter hit one into the river. He hit one into the river in BP today and I was like ‘Wow.’ Off the bat, I knew I got it, but to go into that river, I think that’s really fun. You never know, right?”
Adam Duvall homered and drove in three runs for the Reds. The Pirates have lost eight of 10 following a six-game winning streak.
After Pittsburgh tied it in the sixth, Winker hit a solo shot over the right-field wall with one out in the seventh to give Cincinnati a 3-2 lead. Benoit (1-5), acquired from Philadelphia on Monday, took over to begin the seventh.
Duvall hit his 24th homer in the ninth, a two-run drive. He earlier had a sacrifice fly.
Michael Lorenzen (6-2) won in relief of Robert Stephenson, who allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings. Raisel Iglesias closed for his 18th save.
Stephenson was pleased with his start after lasting just 4 1/3 innings his last time out against the Miami Marlins on July 27.
“I want to build on this one,” Stephenson said. “I was able to get ahead on guys a lot better this time and when I got ahead, it was obviously a lot easier to work. A couple four-pitch walks, but I feel like I corrected a lot better this time out than I did the last time.”
Duvall hit a sacrifice fly to give the Reds a 1-0 lead in the fourth and Tucker Barnhart walked with the bases loaded to make it 2-0 in the sixth. Pirates starter Trevor Williams gave up two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“I felt good,” Williams said. “I thought we attacked the hitters really well, getting the first-pitch strike and getting hitters behind. . (The Reds have) a good lineup. One through nine, they’ve got guys who have the ability to put the ball out of the yard.”
Josh Bell and David Freese hit RBI singles in the Pirates sixth.
Pittsburgh has particularly struggled with last-place Cincinnati, who could sweep Pittsburgh for the second time in three series this season with a win Thursday.
“Guys play us good,” said Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who was 2 for 4. “They play some sound baseball. Pitch well. They’ve gotten timely hits these last couple days. We just got the short end of the stick the past couple days.”
Cincinnati is 8-1 against Pittsburgh this year.
“Can’t explain either big successes or the teams we struggle with,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It’s one of those thing where you go ‘It’s baseball.’ … There are teams that (losing teams) just play better (against). It doesn’t matter what their win-loss record is. Sometimes it’s just the matchup. … For nine games, we’ve really been good against Pittsburgh.”
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton went 1 for 5 after leaving Tuesday’s game with an apparent ankle injury.
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list after missing nine games with a strained left hamstring. He was 0 for 3 with a walk.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (2-2, 4.57) will look to pitch into the fifth inning against the Pirates on Thursday after being pulled with two outs in the fourth against Miami in his last start. Romano struggled controlling his pitches in that start, where he walked six and struck out five.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (3-7, 4.84) will look for his first win since July 6 when he faces the Reds on Thursday. He is 1-1 with five no decisions in his past seven starts.
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