Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 5/4/12
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Johnny Cueto remained unbeaten, giving up seven hits in his first complete game of the season as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Friday night. The right-hander struck out three without a walk to improve to 4-0 and lower his ERA to 1.32. Zack Cozart and Drew Stubbs homered on consecutive pitches in the seventh inning off Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia (1-2) to give Cincinnati plenty of breathing room. Jay Bruce later added his eighth home run of the season off reliever Chris Resop. Nate McLouth, starting in center field in place of an ill Andrew McCutchen, had two hits for the Pirates but Pittsburgh failed in its bid to win consecutive games for the first time in three weeks. Cueto (4-0) has been lights out since the start of the 2011 season. His 2.15 ERA during that span is tops in baseball. He had little trouble with the Pirates, who have started to emerge from an April funk at the plate but couldn't muster much while dealing with Cueto's deceptive movement. Pittsburgh, baseball's lowest-scoring team, had broken out for 25 runs over its last four games. Cueto cooled off the Pirates with the kind of workmanlike performance that's helped him anchor a somewhat shaky staff. Cincinnati, like Pittsburgh, has spent the opening weeks of the season searching for offense despite boasting one of the National League's better lineups. The Reds rank near the bottom of the NL in batting average and runs and have yet to find someone to take some of the pressure off Bruce. The hitting woes have forced manager Dusty Baker to get creative. It worked to perfection in the second when Chris Heisey dropped down a two-out bunt with Bruce on third. Correia dropped to his knees to field it and fired to first but the throw was late, giving Cincinnati the lead. The Reds pushed it to 2-0 in the fourth after Heisey tripled with two outs and Ryan Hanigan followed with a double. Pittsburgh's best chance to get in it came in the bottom of the inning. McLouth and Neil Walker singled and Pedro Alvarez followed with a sacrifice fly. Yet, as they've done much of the season, Pittsburgh got a little too greedy on the bases. Garrett Jones tried to score from first a double by Clint Barmes but was easily cut down by Cozart's relay throw. Pittsburgh got no closer. Cincinnati added a run on Brandon Phillips' RBI single and then put it away in the seventh. Cozart lined Correia's pitch down the left-field line for his second home run of the season and Stubbs followed with a drive to left-center that sailed over the 410-foot sign that marks the deepest point in PNC Park. The normally efficient Correia uncharacteristically struggled with his command in a loss to Atlanta on Sunday, walking five batters in just 4 1-3 innings. Correia's only free pass this time came on an intentional walk to Joey Votto, but he had trouble getting out of innings. Three of the five runs Correia allowed came with two outs. NOTES: Correia fell to 7-2 in his career against the Reds. ... The series continues on Saturday. James McDonald (1-1, 2.97 ERA) gets the start for the Pirates while Mike Leake (0-3, 6.65) goes for Cincinnati. ... Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens said his ailing right shoulder is starting to feel better but he still isn't sure when he'll be ready to come off the 15-day disabled list. Karstens hasn't pitched since April 17.
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