Choo in elite company, but Reds fall to the Pirates

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Choo in elite company, but Reds fall to the Pirates

Choo Shin-soo of Cincinnati Reds became one of only seven players in MLB history to hit 20 home runs, steal 20 bases, score 100 runs, walk 100 times and get on base 300 times in a single season.

Choo accomplished the feat by getting on base three times Saturday in a game against its division rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In the first inning, he hit a single into center field off Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton and was hit by a pitch in his second at bat in the third inning. Choo walked in the fourth for his 300 time on base.

Only Barry Bonds, Jeff Bagwell, Carl Yastrzemski, Chipper Jones, Bobby Abreu and Mike Trout have reached that level.

Choo is also one of three players reaching bases 300 times in this season, along teammate Joey Votto and Trout.

But Choo’s feat couldn’t save the Reds. Neil Walker hit two of Pittsburgh’s six homers - its biggest power surge in six years - and the Pirates clinched home-field advantage for the National League wild card playoff game by beating the Reds, 8-3.

Pittsburgh will host the Reds Tuesday night in the Pirates’ first playoff appearance in 21 years. Pittsburgh went 50-31 at PNC Park, the third-best home record in the NL, and wanted to make that long-awaited playoff return at home.

The Reds will go with Johnny Cueto (5-2) in the one-game playoff against left-hander Francisco Liriano (16-8). Mat Latos was scheduled to start for Cincinnati, but manager Dusty Baker said he’s developed a sore arm.

The Pirates won five of nine games against the Reds at PNC Park this season.

Pittsburgh hit five homers off Bronson Arroyo (14-12), who had never given up that many in a game. In addition to Walkers two homers, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez hit solo homers, and Marlon Byrd had a two-run shot that ended Arroyo’s outing in the fifth and made it 6-3.

Latos isn’t the only Reds starter who’s hurting. Arroyo said his back started bothering him Saturday.

Prospect Andrew Lambo hit his first homer off Logan Ondrusek, the first time the Pirates had six in a game since Aug. 22, 2007, in Colorado.

Morton also struggled, leaving with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth. Vin Mazzaro (8-2) fanned Zack Cozart and retired Ryan Hanigan on a fly ball as the slumping Reds left the bases loaded for the second time in the game.

Cincinnati stranded 11 runners overall.

Hunter Pence, who would have been a free agent like Choo at the end of the season, and the San Francisco Giants have reached a tentative agreement on a $90 million, five-year contract, pending a physical.

Pence is batting .282 with a career-high 26 home runs and 94 RBIs. He received the Willie Mac Award on Friday night, given to the most inspirational member of the Giants.

He’s played in every game this season and would become the first Giants’ player to start all the games in a season sine Alvin Dark started all 154 games in 1954.

BY KWON SANG-SOO, AP [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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