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Reds sink Pirates for first series win

Johnny Cueto was superb on Wednesday with a career best 12 strikeouts in his complete game shutout of Pittsburgh.
Johnny Cueto was superb on Wednesday with a career best 12 strikeouts in his complete game shutout of Pittsburgh.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The elements were in full effect in the second half of the Reds six game homestand as they endured rain and cold to take two of three from Pittsburgh including a 4-0 complete game shutout by Johnny Cueto on Wedneday.

The victory on Wednesday marked the first time this season that the Reds (6-9) have posted back-to-back wins and also marked their first series win. Going back to Sunday, the Reds have now won three of four.

That one blemish came on a rain soaked affair Monday, when the two squads combined for a Great American Ballpark record 10 homers. Homer Bailey allowed five runs on an RBI single by Andrew McCutchen and then home runs by Neil Walker, Gaby Sanchez, Starling Marte, and Travis Snider (both sets came back-to-back). Sanchez and Walker went back-to-back again against J.J. Hoover in his lone inning. That would have been good enough on any other night, but Wandy Rodriguez gave up two-run homers to Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, and Ryan Ludwick. Devin Mesoraco added another off Bryan Morris (2-0) before the game was postponed until Tuesday morning because of heavy rains.

In the continuation of game one, McCutchen scored the go ahead run against Sam LeCure (0-1), when Russell Martin singled him home in the top of the seventh. Jason Grilli came on and secured his fourth save of the season. Grilli would be shelved the rest of the series along with setup man Mark Melancon as the Reds took control of the Pirates (7-8) in games two and three.

Game two belonged to Mike Leake (2-1) who not only allowed three runs over 6.2 innings with a career tying eight strikeouts, but also provided the offense, scoring two runs, with a double and a two-run homer. The Pirates tried to rally when Walker homered off Manny Parra to make it 7-5, but Jonathan Broxton hung on in the ninth with the tying run on base to earn his first save. The Reds roughed up Gerrit Cole (2-1) who gave up a career high five runs in his first outing against the Reds.

Game three was all Cueto (1-2) who decided that if he wasn't going to get any run support, he would just keep the Pirates bats quiet. Allowing just three hits with 12 strikeouts and no walks over nine innings, Cueto didn't need many runs and got all he needed thanks to the speedy Billy Hamilton. Hamilton walked, stole second, then advanced to third and finally crossed home on two wild pitches by Francisco Liriano (0-3). Votto added a two-run homer in the seventh and Brayan Pena doubled in another insurance run against Stolmy Pimentel.

Including Sunday's win, the Reds have scored 30 runs in their last four games. They had scored just 28 runs in their first 11 games this season. Cincinnati heads on the road for its next ten games starting on Friday in Chicago against the Cubs before heading to Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Alfredo Simon (1-1, 1.20 ERA) faces Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29 ERA) as both pitchers look to get some run support in Fridays matchup. All three games in Chicago are slated to start at 2:20 p.m.

Here's a look at what the Reds have done at the plate in the last four games (all stats provided by ESPN.com)

Hamilton 3-13 3R 2B BB
Votto 7-14 3HR 7RBI 6R 3BB
Brandon Phillips 6-18
Frazier 3-16 2B 2HR 4RBI 6R BB
Jay Bruce 1-8 5BB 5R 2B SB
Ludwick 2-6 R 3BB
Heisey 3-9 Grand Slam 4RBI 2R 2B SB
Mesoraco 6-11 2HR 7RBI 2R BB
Zack Cozart 3-15 2B 2RBI R BB
Roger Bernadina 1-5 SB BB
Tony Cingrani 1-3
Bailey 0-1
Ramon Santiago 1-1
Neftali Soto 1-1 R 2B First career hit
Leake 2-3 2B HR 2R 2RBI
Pena 2-4 2B RBI
Cueto 1-4