Late lightning from Doumit shocks Reds
Home run caps night in which Maholm goes seven scoreless
CINCINNATI -- It turns out the Pirates, in order to beat the Reds on Tuesday night, needed a little bit of help from the Great American Ball Park lights and a little bit more late-game magic from catcher Ryan Doumit.
For Doumit, this clutch home run stuff is becoming old hat, and even if he's loath to dwell on his late-game heroics, he provided his teammates yet another win with yet another big hit.
On Tuesday, he smashed a solo home run to the bleachers in right-center field in the top of the ninth to lead his team to a 2-1 victory, just two days after blasting a 10th-inning walk-off shot vs. the Braves. In fact, if it seems as if Doumit is saving his home run power for the eighth inning or later, you're right. That's unintentionally exactly what he's doing.
"I don't really think of that," said Doumit, who has hit all five of his home runs this season after the seventh inning. "You certainly don't script it like that. You go up there and just try to put a good swing on it. You don't try to do too much. Things are going my way right now."
But he's not taking a different approach when the game is nearing its end?
"Not at all," he said.
It's the luck of the draw, then?
"That's exactly right."
How about the momentum you can garner from two big home runs in three days?
"Every day is a different day," said Doumit, who is 6-for-12 with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored since he was dropped to the seventh spot in the batting order. He is hitting .333 in his past 30 games.
"I can go 0-for-4 with four strikeouts tomorrow. That's baseball. I'll relish this moment right now, but tomorrow is a different day."
Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm and Reds right-hander Mike Leake were locked in a pitchers' duel for most of the evening until dusk turned into night. Then, the Pirates took advantage of a confused center fielder to get their first run on the scoreboard.
Second baseman Aki Iwamura's rather routine fly ball in the eighth inning became an adventure for Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs when he lost the ball in the lights. As the ball landed about 30 feet behind him, Iwamura raced to third base for a triple.
"It could have hit me in the face for all I know," Stubbs said. "Jonny Gomes made the comment that the ball was hit so high that he would have had time to come catch it, had he seen it. It was just that time of night. This time of year, there's probably 10-15 minutes where it's right before it gets completely dark and it's kind of a deep gray sky that seems to swallow everything up."
Until then, the Pirates had been flummoxed by Leake -- the Reds first-round pick of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft who had started his professional career 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA entering Tuesday. (He also never stepped foot in the Minor Leagues.) But Pirates third baseman Neil Walker, recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis only a few hours before, shot a ball down the right-field line for an RBI double off Leake to score Iwamura.
"It was great hustle by Aki to get to third, and I was just looking for a pitch to drive the ball into the outfield," Walker said. "I got a pitch over the plate, and was able to hook it fair."
Maholm, meanwhile, was just as good as Leake, allowing only six hits and no runs in seven innings.
"Paulie was on," Pirates manager John Russell said. "His offspeed was working for him. He got in a couple of jams and found his way out of it. He gave us a very solid start. Leake threw a great game against us, and it was going to come down to the bullpen. Those one-run games can go either way."
Pittsburgh reliever Joel Hanrahan allowed a game-tying solo home run to Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips in the eighth inning, but one frame later, Doumit hit his eventual game-winner.
"Lately, he's swinging the bat well," Russell said. "He had the walk-off the other day, and [today] it was a huge hit. We gave up the home run, and we came right back. It was big pickup for our club."
Especially after not getting Maholm the victory.
"Paul [Maholm] deserved to win," Doumit said. "He pitched well enough to win, and he kept us in the game. We couldn't score him the runs. The Reds right now are red hot. To get a win against a team that's hitting their stride is pretty good."
Josh Katzowitz is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.