CINCINNATI (AP) — Time on the disabled list did as much for Sean Rodriguez’s bat as it did for his leg.
Rodriguez homered and drove in four runs, Starling Marte hit a grand slam and the Pittsburgh Pirates extended their winning streak to a season-high seven games with a 12-1 rout of the Cincinnati Reds after a long rain delay Friday night.
“Every swing, you’re not going to get exactly what you want,” said Rodriguez, who snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a fourth-inning RBI single after being activated before the game. “You’re trying to put the ball in play as much as you can. I was able to go up and execute what I’ve been working on.”
Corey Dickerson had a solo homer for the Pirates, who finished with 16 hits — their most in a nine-inning game this year.
In the fourth, however, it was a daring cat that stole the show.
The feline appeared on the field from the first base side, scampered behind the plate to the third base side and twice almost jumped into the stands before finding an unoccupied spot on the third attempt.
The cat escaped, according to a Reds spokesman.
The start was delayed by a thunderstorm for 2 hours, 55 minutes, and rain continued intermittently throughout a game that ended at 1:32 a.m. But the Pirates hardly seemed to mind.
“When you sign up for this, you know what can happen,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “You just do it. There’s lots of things you can’t control, and one of them is the weather. We stayed focused, stayed ready, guys did their work, and when they said ‘Play ball,’ we went out and did.”
The win streak is the Pirates’ longest since a seven-game run from June 29 through July 6, 2016. Pittsburgh has won nine of 10, including a five-game sweep of Milwaukee that knocked the Brewers out of first place in the NL Central.
Jameson Taillon, who threw a one-hit shutout against the Reds on April 8, allowed six hits and a run with six strikeouts and one walk in 5 1/3 innings. Taillon (7-7) also drove in a run with a safety squeeze.
Rodriguez, who had been sidelined since June 25 with a right quadriceps strain, added his drive into the left-field seats in the sixth on the first pitch after Cincinnati pitching coach Danny Darwin visited Tyler Mahle on the mound.
Marte’s eighth-inning slam was the second of his career.
Mahle (7-8) set a career high by allowing six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Pittsburgh reached him for eight hits and three walks.
“We were talking earlier in the year about getting past that sixth inning,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “The sixth inning bit one of our starters again. He had given up a couple runs, but not many hard-hit balls. He was kind of cruising right along, but he lost control there. A couple walks. Later in the inning he hung a slider. It is a hurdle we’ve got to get over.”
SPEAKING OF STREAKS
Marte extended his hitting streak to 13 games, tying a career high. He is tied with Houston’s Yuli Gurriel for the longest active streak in the majors.
Mahle was coming off a start at Cleveland in which he lasted a career-low 2 1/3 innings and set career highs by allowing seven runs, five earned.
Cincinnati recalled OF Phillip Ervin from Triple-A Louisville to replace injured OF Scott Schebler on the 25-man roster. The recall was Ervin’s second since opening the season with the Reds. Schebler went on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday, retroactive to Sunday, with a sprained joint in his right shoulder after running into the wall to make a catch in St. Louis last Saturday.
BEAT THE CURFEW
The Reds went ahead with their postgame fireworks show during the storm that delayed the first pitch. Local curfew regulations prohibit fireworks shows starting after midnight.
Reds All-Star first baseman Joey Votto, 34, didn’t start to help him get over traveling from St. Louis to Washington to Cincinnati this week.
Pirates: 2B Josh Harrison worked out in the outfield before the game but wasn’t in the starting lineup after leaving Sunday’s game with left hamstring discomfort.
Reds: 2B Alex Blandino, just inserted into the game in the ninth, had to be helped off with an apparent right knee injury after colliding with Max Moroff while turning a double play.
Pirates: Rookie RHP Nick Kingham (4-4) is 0-3 in his last three road starts.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (4-2) allowed five hits and six runs in 3 1/3 innings during his last start Sunday in St. Louis.