Originally posted on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 5/31/13
Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto pitched eight one-hit innings and Cincinnati smacked two home runs to win the series opener over the Pirates 4-0 on Friday night at PNC Park. Only Brandon Inge’s single stopped a possible no-hitter from Johnny Cueto (Photo Credit: David Hague) Jay Bruce broke the scoreless stalemate for the Reds (34-21) in the 4th inning, driving a high fastball from Wandy Rodriguez over the right-center-field fence for his eighth home run of the season, putting Cincinnati ahead of the Pirates (34-21) for good. Brandon Phillips lined his ninth homer just over the left-field wall to lead off the 6th inning. Pirates reliever Mike Zagurski labored through his PNC Park debut in relief of Rodriguez, who allowed nine batters to reach base in his seven innings but only gave up runs on the two homers. Zagurski hit Brandon Phillips in the leg with his first pitch, and Phillips stole second base off catcher Michael McKenry. He got to third base on a Jay Bruce single then scored on Zagurski’s wild pitch. Derrick Robinson later singled to left field to drive in Bruce and make the score 4-0, but Zagurski prevented any more damage with a strikeout, sacrifice bunt out and groundout. Zagurski allowed three more walks and threw two more wild pitches in the 9th inning, plus a bases-loaded walk becoming only the fifth reliever in Pirates history to throw at least three wild pitches in one game. Steve Blass was one of the other four. Bryan Morris entered and (after a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk of his own) struck out pinch-hitter Donald Lutz to leave the bases loaded. Shut up, Lutz. The Reds left 12 runners on base. The only time the Pirates got a runner past first base on Reds starter Johnny Cueto was in the first inning. Cueto walked Neil Walker, then hit Andrew McCutchen on his first pitch to the Pittsburgh All-Star. Garrett Jones then hit a possible double-play ball toward first, but McCutchen slid hard into shortstop Zack Cosart to break it up and advance Walker to third base. Travis Snider lined out to Brandon Phillips to end the threat, starting Cueto’s streak of retiring 11 straight batters. The only Pirates hit came in the 5th inning when Brandon Inge singled to left field. The next pitch, Clint Barmes grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and Cueto set down the next nine hitters. Cueto ended his outing with six total strikeouts on 15 swings-and-misses (9 of them on his devastating changeup) and only allowed one baserunner in Inge after the first inning. Sam LeCure pitched a perfect 9th inning in relief for the Reds to finish up the win and tie the Pirates for second place in the NL Central.
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