CINCINNATI -- David Ross was happy to be back home.
The Cincinnati catcher snapped a 0-for-13 slump by going 3-for-4 with a home run and career-high five RBI as the Reds blew a six-run lead before pulling away for a 14-7 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.
Ross went hitless on Cincinnati's six-game road trip after beating the St. Louis Cardinals 8-7 with a two-run walkoff home run on Aug. 9. He snapped out of it against Pittsburgh with a run-scoring single in a six-run first, his 15th homer of the season in the third and a three-run double in the Reds' seven-run seventh.
"I didn't sniff a hit on the road trip," said Ross, who shares Cincinnati's catching duties with Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin. "It's tough when you don't play every day. When you lose your rhythm, it's hard to get back on track. I came back and studied a lot of film. You can do that at home."
"David Ross has done a pretty good job all year," manager Jerry Narron said. "He struggled a little bit on the road, but he came through big for us tonight."
Brandon Phillips also homered as the Reds sent 10 batters to the plate in two separate innings and maintained their one-game lead in the National League wild card race. They also cut St. Louis' lead in the Central Division to 2½ games. The Cardinals lost to the Cubs 5-4 in 10 innings at Chicago Saturday afternoon.
The Pirates overcame a six-run Cincinnati first inning to tie the score at 7 in the seventh inning. The Reds responded with seven runs in the bottom of the inning off relievers Salomon Torres (3-6) and Matt Capps. Ross had a three-run double and Phillips a two-run homer.
Edwin Encarnacion and Rich Aurilia each hit two-run doubles in Cincinnati's six-run first inning. Ross and Phillips added run-scoring singles as Cincinnati set a season-high for first-inning runs.
"For some reason, that first inning again," said Maholm, who has allowed 28 first-inning runs, 27 earned, in 25 starts this season, including 16 in his last eight starts. Maholm's first-inning ERA now is 9.72. "After I got through that, I wanted to go four or five innings and save the bullpen."
The last time the Reds scored as many as six runs in the first inning was on Sept. 24, 2004, when they scored seven in the first of a 14-8 win at Pittsburgh.
The Reds scored six or more runs in two innings of the same game for the first time since exactly one year ago, when they scored six in the third and 10 in the fourth of a 17-3 win over Arizona.
"When you come up with a big lead like that, you have mixed feelings," said Ross, who hit his solo homer in the third. "In a way, you're so happy, but in a way, when they get a couple of runners on base, you're thinking, 'This would be the worst game to blow."'
The Pirates scored three runs in the third on Xavier Nady's two-run double and Ronny Paulino's RBI single. They cut the Reds lead to 7-6 and knocked Eric Milton out of the game with no one out in the fifth on Jason Bay's three-run homer, his 26th homer of the season.
Bay tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the seventh off Ryan Franklin (3-6), who got the win.
Milton allowed nine hits and six runs in four innings.
"I'm not down in the dumps because of the effort," Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. "We kept chipping away and had some professional at bats. Maholm stepped up and bowed his neck. That gave us a chance to put together some professional at bats -- and we did."
Maholm gave up seven runs and 10 hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
- Pirates 3B Freddy Sanchez, the league's leading hitter at .355, went 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games (21-for-41, .512).
- Pirates RHP Britt Reames celebrated his 33rd birthday Saturday.