It looked pretty desperate for the Reds Friday night in Game 1 of the showdown with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They entered the ninth down three runs and were facing a guy with a 1.32 ERA.

But the Reds turned a break into a three-run rally to tie it in the ninth. Joey Votto won it in the 10th with a line drive home run to left for his 24th. It all added up to a very big 6-5 win over Pirates before an amped-up sellout crowd of 37940 at PNC Park.

"That was a heck of a game" Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Everyone is pulling together at the right time . . . We hadn't come back in a long time. In past years it was the norm for us to come back. Let the boys enjoy it tonight -- not too much -- then come back and play them tomorrow."

The Reds are now tied with the Pirates with identical 88-66 records.

Ryan Ludwick got it started in the ninth with a one-out single. He moved to second on Jay Bruce's groundout. Todd Frazier hit a groundball to shortstop Jordy Mercer that should have ended the game. But Mercer's throw ended up in the stands. Frazier was awarded second and Ludwick home to make it 5-3.

Zack Cozart followed with a single. Billy Hamilton was sent in to pinch-run for him. He stole second on the first pitch -- his 10th steal in 10 tries.

Devin Mesoraco put up the best at-bat of his young career. After fouling off four two-strike pitches he hit a smash off third baseman Jose Alvarez's glove. Frazier trotted home and Hamilton easily scored from second with the tying run.

"I really went up there and thought about battling my (butt) off" Mesoraco said. "That was about it. That was my only goal: Go up and battle battle. Hopefully he'd leave one over the plate and put a half decent swing on it."

Said Baker: "That's what you've got to have: Fight 'em at-bats. Foul 'em off foul 'em off. I talked to Devin about that today. You've got to be a fight. He finally got a pitch and hit it hard."

Mesoraco thought it was a clean hit off the bat.

"I thought it was going to get through" he said. "He made a good diving attempt and knocked it down. With Billy's speed if it kicked away a little bit he was going to get in there. You've got to give him credit. He's come up and been a shot in the arm for us."

It was the second straight blown save for Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon. All three runs were unearned.

Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul followed with a single off Tony Watson sending pinch-runner Derrick Robinson to third. Shin-Soo Choo hit a shot off Watson's glove. He recovered and just got Choo at first as he slid in.

Votto hit a 2-0 pitch from Kyle Farnsworth that just made the seats in left and the Reds led 6-5.

"Hank Aaron said 'it's not how far it's how many'" Baker said. "It still counts as much as a tape-measure homer."

Mat Latos went six innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. He walked two and only struck out one. Latos has allowed nine runs on 12 2/3 innings in his last two starts. He's allowed 18 runs in 34 2/3 innings (a 4.67 ERA) over his last five starts. He's only struck 14 in that span.