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Santiago's 10th-inning grand slam lifts Reds over Pirates

Sep 28, 2014 - 5:51 AM Cincinnati, OH ( - Ramon Santiago hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th to lift the Cincinnati Reds over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10-6, in the middle installment of a three-game series.

The Pirates sent John Axford (0-1) to the mound in the 10th. Todd Frazier walked, Chris Heisey singled and Ryan Ludwick walked to load the bases with one out. Bobby LaFromboise came in from the bullpen and got pinch-hitter Brayan Pena to fly out to shallow right field. Santiago then stepped to the plate and smacked a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left for his first career grand slam.

Pittsburgh remains one game behind St. Louis for first place in the NL Central with just one game remaining for each team. If the clubs end in a tie after Sunday, there will be a one-game playoff in St. Louis Monday to determine the division winner. The NL Central winner will play the Dodgers in the Division Series, while the loser takes on San Francisco in the wild card.

Frazier hit a two-run homer and scored four runs for the Reds, who saw starter Alfredo Simon give up four runs on five hits over five innings. Dylan Axelrod (2-1) retired the side in the top of the 10th.

Cincinnati's bullpen came into the game 0-17 since the All-Star break.

Neil Walker knocked in three runs for the Pirates, who have already clinched at least a wild card and would host that game on Wednesday. Jordy Mercer hit a solo homer and drove in two runs.

Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano allowed four runs -- three earned -- on five hits with five walks over five innings.

The Reds jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Kristopher Negron walked, Brandon Phillips singled and Frazier walked to load the bases with no outs. Devin Mesoraco followed with a two-run single to left-center field, and the runners moved up to second and third on Starling Marte's fielding error. Frazier scored on a Heisey groundout. Ludwick then hit a grounder to Mercer, who threw out Mesoraco at the plate.

The Pirates got one run back in the second when Marte crossed the plate on Mercer's groundout. Marte led off with a double and moved to third on Ike Davis' groundout.

Pittsburgh briefly took the lead with a three-run fifth. Mercer led off with a homer to left. Liriano singled, Josh Harrison doubled and Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases with two outs. Walker followed with a two-run single to center to make it 4-3.

Ludwick responded with an RBI single in the bottom half.

Each team scored twice in the seventh. Sam LeCure got two quick outs before hitting Travis Snider. Gregory Polanco came on as pinch-runner and stole second before racing home on McCutchen's single. Walker followed with an RBI triple to right.

Frazier hit a two-run homer off John Holdzkom in the home half. Phillips singled and crossed the plate on Frazier's blast to right.

Game Notes

Cincinnati leads the season series, 11-7 ... The Reds signed president of baseball operations and general manager Walt Jocketty to a two-year contract extension on Saturday ... Axelrod hadn't pitched since an oblique strain forced him out of the starting rotation on Sept. 8 ... Marte extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Harrison extended his hitting streak to a career- high 15 games ... The victory for the Reds was their first in the last 46 games in which they allowed six or more runs, a club record dating back to Aug. 23, 2013.