Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

Scoreboard
Cincinnati (47-50)000000000061
Pittsburgh (51-44) «10000000x140

Pirates maintain division lead, shut out Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Joe Beimel let the pitch go and thought "uh-oh."

The second the slider that didn't really slide left his hand with the bases loaded Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates reliever waited for Cincinnati's Jay Bruce to find a way to come through.

Only Bruce didn't. The slugger flailed miserably while striking out in the seventh inning as Pittsburgh's stellar bullpen preserved a 1-0 victory that kept the Pirates alone in first in the NL Central.

"If I would have made the pitch I wanted he would have fouled it off or blooped it over somebody's head or something," Beimel said. "It just worked out where it was so bad he couldn't do anything with it."

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Bruce wasn't alone Tuesday night. The Reds were held scoreless for the second straight night as Pittsburgh posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since April 2009.

James McDonald, Beimel, Chris Resop and Joel Hanrahan combined on a six-hitter for the Pirates, who made sure their stunning rise to the top of the standings wasn't a one-day cameo.

McDonald (6-4) won for the first time in five starts, allowing four hits, striking out seven and walking three in 6 1/3 efficient innings before letting the relievers go to work.

"The bullpen has been the unsung hero for this team this year," McDonald said. "They've come in in a lot of big situations and got the job done. Those guys picked me up tonight."

Mike Leake (8-5) yielded one run in six innings but couldn't stop the Reds (47-50) from dropping three games below .500 for the first time this season. They trail Pittsburgh by five games.

"It's frustrating because you know these are important games for us and we're playing good baseball, pitching well, keeping ourselves in games defensively," Cincinnati catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "We just need to keep working for those hits."

Pittsburgh's offense wasn't much better, managing just four hits, but the Pirates found a way to scratch out a run in the first while improving to 7-1 this season against the defending division champions.

"I don't know if we're pressing or not, we're just not getting it done, you know?" Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We're missing pitches, and that's what happens."

The Pirates recorded two of their four hits in the first inning. Josh Harrison singled with one out, Neil Walker doubled to left and Harrison scored on Andrew McCutchen's groundout.

That one run was enough for McDonald, who earned his first win since beating Houston on June 16. The 26-year-old right-hander has steadily improved since a rough April and for a night found a way to avoid the control problems that have prevented him from working deep into games.

McDonald got through the first six innings in a tidy 71 pitches, then handed it over to the bullpen when Cincinnati put together its best threat of the night.

"I was pitching to contact more this game, going along smoothly," McDonald said.

At least until things got bumpy in the seventh.

Miguel Cairo led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice by Chris Heisey. Fred Lewis followed with a grounder to shortstop and beat the throw with a headfirst slide, putting runners on the corners. Hanigan then walked on four pitches to chase McDonald.

Beimel, who was lit up for three hits while recording two outs on Sunday, struck out Bruce with that unconventional slider before giving way to Resop.

The journeyman reliever has become a revelation this season and a specialist at what manager Clint Hurdle calls "high leverage" situations.

Resop has inherited 45 baserunners this season, tops in the majors. He wasted little time getting Drew Stubbs to hit a slow dribbler to first to help the Pirates escape. He then walked off the field to a standing ovation from a sizable PNC Park crowd of 26,058 that is quickly warming to Pittsburgh's surprising rise to contention.

"It was electric," Hurdle said.

Resop followed with a perfect eighth inning before Hanrahan, appearing in his third straight game, allowed a pair of singles before getting Bruce to ground out to second to notch his 28th save.

"It's been awesome to watch and be a part of," Resop said.

While the Pirates have surged, the Reds have sagged. Cincinnati hasn't won consecutive games in over a month while slowly sliding to the rear of the four-team Central race.

When the Reds hit, they don't pitch that well, and on a night when Leake was as sharp as he's been all season, Cincinnati's bats went silent.

The Reds have left 18 men on base in the first two games of the three-game series.

"We had some runners on base early in the game and we just couldn't get that hit," Baker said. "This is frustrating when you're not scoring runs."

Notes

  • Walker extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
  • Cincinnati rookie SS Zack Cozart went hitless in four at bats, ending a seven-game hitting streak to start his career
  • Cincinnati 3B Scott Rolen sat for a second straight game to deal with soreness in his right shoulder.
  • Pittsburgh SS Chase d'Arnaud was given the night off after tweaking his neck while sliding into third base on Monday night. Hurdle expects d'Arnaud to return as early as Wednesday.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan points to outfielder Andrew McCutchen after a warning-track catch in the ninth inning. (Getty Images)
Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan points to outfielder Andrew McCutchen after a warning-track catch in the ninth inning. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. McDonald
IP 6.1
H 4
ER 0
BB 3
K 7
Cincinnati

M. Leake
IP 6.0
H 2
ER 1
BB 2
K 4
 

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Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Drew Stubbs, CF4000025 .253
Zack Cozart, SS4000011 .333
Joey Votto, 1B4000031 .320
Brandon Phillips, 2B4000000 .278
Miguel Cairo, 3B3010110 .287
Chris Heisey, RF-LF3000011 .244
Fred Lewis, LF2010100 .262
    Nick Masset, P0000000 .000
    Logan Ondrusek, P0000000 .000
   a- Ramon Hernandez, PH1010000 .312
    Bronson Arroyo, PR0000000 .176
Ryan Hanigan, C3020102 .258
Mike Leake, P2010001 .257
   b- Jay Bruce, PH-RF2000015 .262
Totals3206039  
a-singled for Ondrusek in the 9th
b-struck out for Leake in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Hanigan (4, McDonald)
SH - Chris Heisey (1)
SB - Chris Heisey (4, 2nd base off McDonald/McKenry)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Leake-Cozart-Votto
E - Ryan Hanigan (2, Interference)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Leake (L,8-5) 6211240 4.11
Nick Masset 1100110 2.98
Logan Ondrusek 1100000 1.60
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 89-54, Nick Masset 20-12, Logan Ondrusek 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 7-5, Nick Masset 1-0, Logan Ondrusek 2-1
Batters Faced - Mike Leake 21, Nick Masset 4, Logan Ondrusek 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Presley, LF3010100 .351
Josh Harrison, 3B4110001 .266
Neil Walker, 2B3010010 .277
Andrew McCutchen, CF2001100 .277
Garrett Jones, RF2000011 .237
    Xavier Paul, PR-RF0000000 .256
Lyle Overbay, 1B3010012 .239
Brandon Wood, SS2000111 .214
Michael McKenry, C3000011 .238
James McDonald, P2000001 .088
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
    Chris Resop, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Diaz, PH1000000 .271
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Totals2514135  
a-grounded out for Resop in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alex Presley (4, Ondrusek), Neil Walker (17, Leake)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen (58)
CS - Alex Presley (2, 2nd base by Leake/Hanigan), Xavier Paul (3, 2nd base by Masset/Hanigan)
Team LOB - 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James McDonald (W,6-4) 6.1400370 4.15
Joe Beimel (H,5) 0.1000010 5.02
Chris Resop (H,13) 1.1000010 3.30
Joel Hanrahan (S,28) 1200000 1.24
Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 87-54, Joe Beimel 5-3, Chris Resop 11-9, Joel Hanrahan 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 8-4, Chris Resop 2-1, Joel Hanrahan 2-1
Batters Faced - James McDonald 26, Joe Beimel 1, Chris Resop 4, Joel Hanrahan 5
Game Information
Attendance - 26058
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Chris Conroy, Third Base - Tony Randazzo