PITTSBURGH (AP) – Aristides Aquino hit his 19th home run, Tyler Mahle pitched five shutout innings to pick up his first win since May and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pirates 3-1 Sunday shortly after Pittsburgh fired manager Clint Hurdle.
Brian O’Grady connected for his second home run and Alex Blandino added a solo shot as Cincinnati finished 75-87 under first-year manager David Bell, an eight-win improvement over 2018 and the club’s best record since it posted a 76-86 mark in 2014. Eugenio Suarez went 0 for 4 to finish with 49 home runs.
Mahle (3-12) struck out five and allowed three hits to win for the first time in 13 starts. Michael Lorenzen worked the ninth for his seventh save.
Jose Osuna delivered an RBI single for Pittsburgh. Trevor Williams (7-9) gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. Tom Prince managed the Pirates, who parted ways with Hurdle after nine seasons shortly before the game’s first pitch.
Aquino connected in the second. He entered the day tied for ninth among major league rookies in home runs even though he didn’t debut until Aug. 1.
The Pirates finished 69-93, a 13-game drop from 2018 and the franchise’s worst mark since losing a major-league worst 105 games in 2010, the year before Hurdle’s arrival.
Steve Blass ended his 60-year professional relationship with the Pirates on Sunday when the former pitcher and longtime analyst called his final game.
Blass joined the organization in 1960 as an amateur free agent from Farms Village, Connecticut. He reached the majors in 1964 and went on to play for the Pirates for 10 seasons, the high point coming in 1971 when he threw a complete game in Game 7 of the World Series to push Pittsburgh past Baltimore for the title.
Williams stepped off the mound before throwing his first pitch so both the players and the crowd could acknowledge Blass. The players turned toward the broadcast booth high above home plate again during the seventh-inning stretch.
The Pirates announced Saturday that Blass will be in the inaugural class of the franchise’s Hall of Fame next year.
Pirates: C Steven Baron underwent surgery Sunday to repair a fractured jaw suffered during Saturday night’s 12-inning loss to the Reds. Baron is expected to be ready for spring training.
The Pirates average attendance ticked up to 18,412 in 2019, a slight increase over the 18,316 last year but well off the 30,847 the club averaged when it won 98 games in 2015. Hurdle said before the game – and before being fired – that he carried some of the responsibility for the downturn.
“You want to peel back all the layers, you want to get raw with it, that’s where we are right now,” he said. “We need to sell more tickets.”