PITTSBURGH -- Heartbreak defeats gave way to a hammering on Wednesday for the Pirates, who suffered a rare lopsided loss, 11-4, to the Reds at PNC Park.
As ugly games get, this one certainly qualified, complete with a rain delay in the bottom of the seventh inning -- at 9:55 p.m. ET -- that delayed the inevitable outcome for an hour and 15 minutes.
Cincinnati made quick work of Edinson Volquez, poured across seven runs in a third inning prolonged by a curious call reversal at the plate, and coasted behind Alfredo Simon's five-hit pitching for 6 1/3 innings.
"Game got away from us early," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We weren't able to recover."
And, still, the game was not forgettable for the Pirates thanks to rookie sensation Gregory Polanco, who accomplished something no one previously had in the franchise's 128-year history.
With a fifth-inning single, Polanco stretched his career-long hitting streak to eight games, becoming the first Pittsburgh rookie to hit safely in each of his first eight games. He had been tied at seven with Roberto Clemente (1955) and Zip Collins (1914).
"I'm still not thinking about that," said Polanco, who wound up 2-for-4, for the fourth multihit effort of those eight games.
One other Pirates rookie began his career with an eight-game hitting streak, Spencer Adams in 1923. However, in the course of that streak Adams appeared in four other games without an at-bat, hence did not match Polanco's feat of hitting in his first eight games.
Starling Marte (nine games) also extended his hitting streak, but Andrew McCutchen's run ended at 12 games -- one shy of his career long, in 2009. McCutchen was removed from the one-sided game after he had gone 0-for-3 in six innings.
Even one of the few times the Pirates executed flawlessly on a play, the umpires -- at least, those in MLB's Replay Review Command Center -- intervened.
It was a 5-0 game when Simon, with the bases loaded and one out in the third, hit a dribbler fielded to the right of the mound by reliever Stolmy Pimentel, who threw home to force Devin Mesoraco. However, a crew-chief review requested by Cincinnati manager Bryan Price led to catcher Russell Martin being found in violation of the experimental Rule 7.13 -- which concerns illegal blocking of the plate.
So the Reds had a sixth run on the way to a seven-run frame.
And the Pirates had an undesirable gateway to another bright spot to accompany Polanco's accomplishment: Volquez being chased with one out in that third inning gave Pimentel a chance to shine.
And Pimentel did. In his second appearance since ending six weeks on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, the right-hander held the Reds to one run for 4 1/3 innings while striking out five.
"Stolmy was able to come in and bring some sanity to the game by giving us some much-needed innings," Hurdle said.
Due to the combination of Volquez's early ouster and the late rain delay, outfielder Travis Snider came in to pitch the ninth inning for the Pirates, becoming their first position player to take the mound since Josh Harrison on Aug. 9 in Colorado. And it was the first time in Pittsburgh since Abraham Nunez on May 30, 2004, against the Cubs.
The mound appearance was the first for the 26-year-old Snider since he was a 15-year-old high school freshman.
"Then I had arm surgery, and stopped pitching after that," Snider said. "It was fun to go back out there and toe the slab."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.