Bert Blyleven and Kent Tekulve continued their early-season struggles as the Pirates dropped an 8-4 decision to the Reds at Three Rivers Stadium. The loss continued a pattern of alternating wins and losses that stretched back a dozen games.
Blyleven created some of his own problems early. Two singles and two wild pitches gave the Reds a run in the top of the first. A two-run home run by Dave Concepcion made it 3-0 in the third. The Pirates got those runs back, though, when Dave Parker followed a walk to Tim Foli with an inside-the-park round tripper, his fourth homer of the season. The Bucs tied it in the fourth when Phil Garner singled in Ed Ott, who’d reached on the first of two doubles on the day.
Blyleven gave the lead back in his last inning, the sixth, when George Foster went deep. The Pirates tied it again in the bottom half when Garner again drove in Ott following a double, this time with a sacrifice fly.
After the sixth, the Reds bullpen took over for starter Bill Bonham and shut the Pirates down. A pair of singles was all the home team could get off Dave Tomlin and Doug Bair.
The Reds had less trouble with the Pirates’ bullpen. Ed Whitson threw a scoreless seventh, but in the eighth, three singles, the last one with two outs, made it 5-4, Reds. Kent Tekulve got the last out of that inning, but Cincinnati hammered him for three, two-out runs in the ninth, the last two on a triple by Concepcion.
The game left Blyleven and Teke with ERAs of 5.66 and 5.40, respectively, which goes a long way toward explaining the team being five games under .500 and nine games behind the first-place Phillies. Whitson’s record dropped to 1-2. Ott and Bill Robinson each had two hits.