The Cincinnati Reds reeled off a 6-0 victory to open its weekend set against the Pittsburgh Pirates, cashing as a 109 road favorite in Friday’s MLB betting. Saturday night’s matchup between the foes has Reds left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-1, 2.35 ERA) squaring off with Pirates righty Mike Leake (4-2, 3.02 ERA).
Reds pile in late runs
Cincinnati’s win from Friday saw starter Johnny Cueto last eight frames, holding the Pirates lineup to one hit. The Reds drove in four runs over the last two innings, while mates Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce finished with 2-for-4 nights.
Pittsburgh’s Clint Barnes struck out twice in an 0-for-3 outing, while Garrett Jones and Travis Snider each left two men on base. The battle dipped UNDER the ‘total’ of seven, despite three wild pitches from Pirates reliever Mike Zagurski.
Liriano logs first loss
Liriano saw his stretch of three wins to start the season end with Monday’s 6-5 defeat for Pittsburgh as a 176 road dog against the Detroit Tigers. The Dominican Republic native gave up four runs in a five-frame stint, allowing eight hits.
Pittsburgh’s Travis Snider and Neil Walker each poked a triple, finishing with a combined 5-for-10 mark at the plate. Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez drilled a pair of doubles, while designated hitter Pedro Alvarez went 0-for-4.
Leake stays stingy
Leake picked up a no-decision in Monday’s 4-2 victory for Cincinnati over the Cleveland Indians, cashing as 137 home ‘chalk.’ The 25-year-old held Cleveland to five hits, allowing one earned run over 7 1/3 IP.
Cincinnati’s Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto each cracked one homer, while shortstop Zack Cozart poked a double as part of a 2-for-2 day. Reds closer Aroldis Chapman tossed two strikeouts in the final frame for his 13th save.
Back the Pirates as home ‘chalk’
William Hill opened Liriano as a 125 home favorite, while first listing the ‘total’ at 7 ½. Pittsburgh’s weather forecast calls for 79 degrees, with a 40 percent chance of rain and 12 mph winds blowing right to left.
I am backing the Pirates as home favorites here, looking for a bounceback spot here after Friday’s shutout setback.
Liriano has been solid in his two starts at PNC Park, holding foes to a 0.95 WHIP and .231 OBP. The 29-year-old has yet to surrender a home run in the span’s 12 2/3 IP.
Pittsburgh is 13-3 in its last 16 spots that came after scoring two runs or less in its previous contest. Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez has one homer in five at-bat’s facing Leake, while mates Russell Martin and Starling Marte have united to hit 6-for-13.
Cincinnati is 1-4 in Leake’s last five starts against clubs with winning records, while going 1-6 in the hurler’s last seven road outings in Pittsburgh. The Reds’ bats may not give Leake enough octane here, hitting just .237 against left-handed pitching away from home.
Look for the Pirates to hand Leake another loss here, evening the series out as ‘chalk.’
Free Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates -125 at William Hill