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Cueto dominates Pirates again

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Johnny Cueto tossed his second consecutive complete game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, this time in a 4-1 win at PNC Park on Tuesday.

Cueto (2-2) fanned 12 in nine innings on April 16 to shutout the Pirates 4-0. He held a shutout through 8.1 innings before Andrew McCutchen sent a Cueto offering into the right field stands for the Pirates lone run of the game. Edinson Volquez (1-1) was equally effective until the seventh inning, when the Reds (9-11) tagged him for two runs on four hits.

Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier opened that inning with back-to-back singles and then Brayan Pena drove in Bruce and was initially ruled safe at second, but Pena was called out after Pirates (9-12) manager Clint Hurdle challenged the play. With two outs Zack Cozart brought in Frazier on an RBI double to ensure that Cueto would stay in the game and the Volquez would not.

Tony Watson came on in relief of Volquez in the eighth, but was met with the same hot bats that began the seventh. Billy Hamilton singled and then scurried to third on a single by Joey Votto. Two batters later, Bruce singled in Hamilton for extra insurance. Stolmy Pimentel came on and retired the next two hitters to end the threat. He was unable to do so when Pena singled, stole second, then scored on an RBI single by Cueto to make it 4-0.

Cueto entered the ninth with over 20 scoreless consecutive innings of work and got Neil Walker to line out to Hamilton to start the inning. After McCutchen homered, Pedro Alvarez grounded out to first, but Russell Martin kept the rally alive with a walk. Ike Davis fought off pitch after pitch from Cueto, but on the ninth offering, Davis flied out to left and secured the victory for the Reds.

Martin may not be able to keep any rallies alive in the upcoming games as he faces a one-game suspension, pending an appeal, for his behavior in a bench clearing brawl against the Brewers on Sunday. Travis Snider was levied a two-game suspension, while the Brewers' Carlos Gomez was suspended three games and catcher Martin Maldonado received a five game ban and a $2,500 fine after punching Snider in the fracas. All suspended players plan on appealing. The Brewers should have all their players back for their four game set in Cincinnati May 1-4.

The surprisingly effective Alfredo Simon (2-1, 0.86 ERA) will take on Charlie Morton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) in Wednesday's contest with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.