Found May 05, 2012 on Fox Sports Tennessee:
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Mike Leake isn't sure whether he's starting to figure things out after a bumpy April left his confidence a bit shaken and his ERA too high. Still, there was a sense of relief after the Cincinnati Reds' right-hander put together his best performance of the season in a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night. Though Leake's record fell to 0-4, he pointed to signs of progress after allowing three runs and four hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out four. "It's definitely a step in the right direction," said Leake, whose ERA dropped from 6.65 to 5.97. "Even though I had four walks, I was still happy with the way I threw the ball. I had a couple more mistakes than what showed, but they made me pay for two of them." Neil Walker hit a two-run homer for the Pirates and Alex Presley added a solo shot to back James McDonald (2-1), who struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings to extend his strong start. Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save. "When (McDonald) has his breaking ball working, he's tough," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "That was a power breaking ball. We thought if we stayed close we were going to have a good opportunity to get him." The Reds kept Pittsburgh well within range but kept running themselves out of innings. Cincinnati hit into four double plays, only one of them truly conventional. Joey Votto was nailed at the plate to end the fourth and Scott Rolen never had a chance trying to tag up from first in the seventh. "I think we hit into two (double plays) and ran into two more. There's eight outs right there," Baker said. "You usually don't win when you run into that many double plays." Save for a brief two-game slide in St. Louis earlier this week, Pittsburgh has alternated wins and losses since April 18. Most of the games have followed a similar script -- six have been decided by three runs or less. "You think, let's get that one hit, something to break it open," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "That's not where we're living right now." Instead, the Pirates are getting by with pitching and defense. In addition to the double plays, Jose Tabata made a running catch on Votto's drive to left-center with a runner on to end the sixth. "This might be one of the better games we played, and needed to play, to win the game," Hurdle said. "It was above and beyond what you normally get. Those are big-time plays. We needed every one of them." Walker hadn't homered since Sept. 4, 2011, but his two-run shot in the third gave McDonald an early cushion before Pittsburgh's bullpen staved off a late Cincinnati rally. Though the switch-hitting Walker isn't a power hitter, he's a vital part of Pittsburgh's offense. His drought included a homerless spring training, too. "I was looking for a pitch up and got it and was able to get the barrel on it and get it in the seats," Walker said. Votto had two hits for the Reds, but Cincinnati was undone by some slick Pittsburgh glovework and the quickly maturing McDonald. The 27-year-old right-hander is beginning to harness his control, a problem that's plagued him early in his career and made it difficult for him to pitch deep into games. There were no such issues on Saturday. He worked into the seventh for the third straight start before running into trouble when Jay Bruce tripled and scored on Rolen's single. Juan Cruz came on in relief and escaped further damage when Ryan Ludwick lined to center and Rolen was tagged out at second trying to advance. The Reds drew within one in the eighth against Jason Grilli when Zack Cozart doubled home Devin Mesoraco. Grilli struck out Drew Stubbs and intentionally walked Votto to get to Brandon Phillips, who struck out swinging as Grilli pumped his fist. Hanrahan retired Cincinnati in order in the ninth to blunt the Reds' momentum. Cincinnati came in 7-3 in its last 10 games to move over .500 for the first time in a month. The Reds, however, couldn't get two games over .500 for the first time since June 29, 2011. NOTES: The series concludes Sunday. Mat Latos (1-2, 5.97 ERA) starts for Cincinnati against Charlie Morton (1-2, 4.22). ... Rolen's next double will be the 506th of his career and will tie him with Babe Ruth for 48th place. ... Pittsburgh 3B Pedro Alvarez went 0 for 2 with two walks in his first game batting cleanup this season.

Cueto hopes to keep rolling vs. Pirates

Johnny Cueto is off to the best start of his career, and a meeting with the Pittsburgh Pirates may just keep him rolling. Cueto looks to match his longest unbeaten run as the Cincinnati Reds open a three-game road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. Cueto (3-0, 1.39 ERA) has won all five decisions with a 2.28 ERA over his last 12 starts dating to a road loss to...

Minor League Game Review – 5/6/12

5/6 Game Review Louisville lost 4-2. Box Score Kristopher Negron went 1-4 with a double, steal (10) and a run. Chris Valaika went 2-4 with a double, RBI and a run. Neftali Soto went 2-4. Mike Costanzo went 1-4 with a double. Brian Peacock went 1-3. Brett Tomko allowed 2 runs in 6 innings with a walk and 6 strikeouts. Kanekoe Texiera threw a perfect inning of relief with a strikeout...

The Reds move on to the next town

After taking two of three from the Pirates, the Reds find themselves 2.5 games behind the Cardinals in the division and 1 game over .500. Mat Latos looked shaky from the start. After loading the bases in the first with two walks and a hit batter, he had to pitch his way out of the jam with 1 out in the inning. After that Latos caught fire and ended up with 11 strikeouts and no runs...

Billy Hamilton is really fast (Video)

Here's some footage from the 2011 season of Reds prospect Billy Hamilton swiping some bases. The 21-year old shortstop tallied a world-leading 103 bags last year for the Dayton Dragons.

Cueto throws complete game, Reds rout Pirates

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...

Game 28: Reds 5 Pirates 0

I don't know how to accurately describe the frustration that this game caused me watching it. The Pirates were very patient with Mat Latos in the first inning and drew three walks and were a nice Todd Frazier snag of a Casey McGehee line drive away from making breaking the inning open. Instead, they got nothing out of the first and never really threatened to score again all afternoon...

Organizational Leaderboard

We are nearly a full month into the minor league season. Here is a look at the organization leaderboard. Stat Player Player Player Runs Billy Hamilton – 25 Donald Lutz – 20 Henry Rodriguez -19 Doubles Neftali Soto – 9 Donald Lutz – 8 5 tied with 7 Triples Billy Hamilton – 4 Ryan Wright – 3 6 tied with 2 Home Runs Donald Lutz – 7 Travis Mattair – 6 Mike...

Reds 5, Pirates 0

Mat Latos struck out a career-high 11 over six sharp innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Drew Stubbs had three hits, including a two-run homer, and scored three times for the Reds. Todd Frazier added his first home run of the season as Cincinnati continued its strong play in series finales. The Reds are 8-1 on getaway days...

Cueto, Chapman Putting Up Video Game Stats

The Cincinnati Reds moved over the .500 mark (13-12) with a 6-1 win over the host Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. Johnny Cueto picked up the complete-game victory for the Reds and is now 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA on the season. Any questions about whether Cueto was “truly an ace” have quickly been answered. His numbers this season are eye-popping, and this is after going 12-7 with...

$200 Fantasy Baseball With FanDuel Happens Tonight, Let’s Keep It Going

Come on, Johnny Cueto! You’re pitching against the Pirates! I expect two concurrent perfect games from you! Win this contest for me! I’ve decided to put away my history of horrible fantasy performances and destroy this week’s FanDuel contest, wherein you pay $2 to enter and stand to win cash from a $200 cash pool … and the best part is that you can enter three times,...

Dingers and defense

The Pirates evened the series with the Reds thanks to some long balls and nifty work on defense – two things we haven’t seen a whole lot of from the Bucs so far this year. Neil Walker hit his first home run of the year on a Mike Leake meatball in the third inning. With Jose Tabata on second after a double with two outs, Neil pounded one well into the air that easily cleared...

Game 28 Live Chat: Pirates vs Reds

iPhone on staging

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds – Game 27

Well that wasn’t much fun.  I get why Correia went seven, but he definitely wasn’t good.  I don’t know what he can do, but he needs to find a way to K more batters when he needs it.   First Pitch: 7:05 PM EST Where to Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV, FS-O   Mike Leake, RHP [...]

Game 27 Live Chat: Pirates vs Reds

iPhone on staging

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds – Game 28

It seemed like the Pirates had more than six hits last night didn’t it?  Must have been the six walks. The biggest thing to take away from last night was yet another encouraging outing from James McDonald. If the Buccos want this series they will have to win two games in a row.  Something they [...]
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.