Reds get on the board, Pirates extend lead to 5-1

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates just keep on slugging against Cincinnati pitchers.

The Reds finally got on the board against Francisco Liriano in the fourth inning, but Pittsburgh still holds a 4-1 lead.

More team coverage: Bucs Dugout Red Reporter

Pirates' MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen began the third inning with a single, then moved to third on a sharp Marlon Byrd grounder that Reds' shortstop Zack Cozart couldn't handle.

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That play was officially ruled an error. McCutchen scored on the very next batter as Pedro Alvarez hit a sacrifice fly into center field.

After three perfect innings, Liriano had a tougher time in the fourth inning. He led off the frame hitting Shin-Soo Choo, then allowed a single to Ryan Ludwick to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs. A strikeout to Joey Votto and a Brandon Phillips groundout almost got him out of the inning, but Jay Bruce grounded a single to the left side to bring in a run.

Liriano may be lucky the damage wasn't worse. Todd Frazier hit a long fly ball to left field that ended up being just a few feet to the left of the foul pole. It had the distance to be a go-ahead three-run homer. Instead, Frazier struck out to end the threat.

After Francisco Liriano grounded out to lead off the bottom of the fourth, Starling Marte doubled and forced the Reds to remove starter Johnny Cueto from the game. Left-hander Sean Marshall took over and promptly allowed an RBI double to Neil Walker and an intentional walk to Andrew McCutchen to setup a hopeful double play. Instead, Justin Morneau took a nine-pitch walk to load the bases.

Marshall was then pulled in favor of J.J. Hoover. Hoover got what could have been a double-play ball, but Brandon Phillips bobbled the pick-up and only got the out at second base. That brought in another run, however. Pedro Alvarez than grounded out to finally end the inning.

More from SB Nation MLB:

Rays win Game 163, advance to AL Wild Card

Brisbee: An open letter to the Cincinnati Reds

Bucs Dugout: Thoughts on the Pirates and the playoffs

Who should be the next Cubs manager?

Closing Time: A Mariano Rivera retrospective

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