Pirates’ ’embarrassing’ homestand reaches merciful conclusion

Chris Stewart reacts after striking out with the bases loaded in the second. - GETTY

Following an up-then-down road trip, coming home for 10 games in a row looked like an oasis for the Pirates, but it turned out to be the cruelest of mirages.

The Pirates' defense was all too porous, their bats were all too sporadic and Ryan Vogelsong was all too hittable on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. The result was an 8-0 loss to the Reds, completing a 2-8 homestand that has practically killed any chance to qualify for a fourth consecutive postseason berth.

"It's been bad, honestly," a candid David Freese told me after the last-place Reds took three of four. "It's been unacceptable, embarrassing, frustrating. That said, we're still alive, but we gotta run some off, a lot off, in a row. Every day is very important and we have to keep understanding that."

Vogelsong permitted six runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batsman in four innings, making for his third consecutive subpar start. Cincinnati (60-82) plated five runs in the second, when Andrew McCutchen's two-base error helped pushed the rally along.

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One day after scoring seven runs in a come-from-ahead loss, the Pirates (69-72) had seven hits, but they stranded 10. They left the bases loaded twice, including in the second inning against Reds starter Brandon Finnegan.

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