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Cincinnati (5-6)001000000170
Pittsburgh (5-6) «00011010x370

Reds fall to Pirates, lose starter Cueto (strained triceps)

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- All in all, it was a frustrating Saturday night for the Cincinnati Reds.

Ace pitcher Johnny Cueto was forced to leave the 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth inning with a strained right triceps. He will return to Cincinnati on Sunday to be examined by team doctors.

In addition to losing a pitcher who has allowed just seven earned runs in his last seven starts in Pittsburgh, the Reds watched their offense sputter. Cincinnati went 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners.

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After striking out Pedro Alvarez starting the fifth, Cueto threw a first-pitch strike to Travis Snider then began shaking his right arm. A Reds trainer visited Cueto on the mound, briefly massaged the pitcher's upper arm, and both then walked to the dugout.

"I believe when I threw a changeup to Alvarez that I felt something in my arm," Cueto said. "It's disappointing. I felt really good. I thought I was pitching really good and I wanted to stay in that game."

Cueto had 19 victories last season and helped Cincinnati win the NL Central, then left the division series opener against San Francisco with an oblique strain that knocked him out for the rest of the series, won by the Giants in five games. He is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts this season.

Cueto allowed one run and two hits in 4 1-3 innings with one walk and three strikeouts on Saturday.

"The good thing is that it isn't the elbow and it isn't the shoulder," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's in the belly of the triceps so, hopefully, he'll be OK."

Alfredo Simon (0-1) relieved Cueto with the score 1-1. Snider reached on an infield single, Clint Barmes singled and Starling Marte singled with two outs to drive in the go-ahead run.

Pinch-hitter Jose Tabata added an RBI double off the right-center field fence in the seventh against J.J. Hoover.

Jeff Locke (1-1) won for only the second time in three major league seasons.

Making his 14th big league appearance and 12th start, Locke allowed one run, four hits and four walks in five innings with no strikeouts. His first win was last Oct. 1, when he pitched six innings of one-run ball to beat Atlanta.

"I had a hard time trying to find the strike zone," said Locke, who has a 2-7 career record. "I got them to hit some balls on the ground when I needed to and I was fortunate to have some good defense behind me."

However, Baker thought the Reds' lack of hitting with runners was as much as cause for the loss as the Pirates' defense and Locke's ability to escape jams.

"You've got to execute," Baker said. "Three times we had runners on second base with no outs and didn't score them. I can't stress enough how important it is to execute. It wasn't a very good job on our part."

Mark Melancon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and has not allowed a run in seven games and seven innings this season. Jason Grilli finished for his fifth save in as many chances.

Cincinnati has lost four in a row, its longest regular-season skid since a five-game streak last Aug. 5-9. The Pirates have won four of five following a 1-5 start.

Zack Cozart had three hits, including a double and his third homer of the season, a solo drive in the third. Andrew McCutchen walked in the fourth and scored on a two-out double by Garrett Jones, who is 7 for 14 in his last four games.

Notes

  • RHP Phil Irwin is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and start Sunday for Pittsburgh in place of LHP Wandy Rodriguez in the finale of the three-game series in what would be his major league debut. Rodriguez said he will be unable to start after straining his left hamstring Monday while pitching at Arizona.
  • Cincinnati 2B Brandon Phillips was away from the team because of what Baker termed a family matter and also may miss Sunday's game. INF Cesar Izturis started in Phillips place.
  • Simon had his first career hit, a single off LHP Justin Wilson in the sixth.
  • Cincinnati CF Shin-Soo Choo and 1B Joey Votto have reached base safely in all 11 games.
  • Marte's streak of six straight games with a first-inning hit ended when he struck out.
  • Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano is expected to begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with high Class-A Bradenton on Monday. Liriano, who broke a bone in his right upper arm on Christmas, is scheduled to pitch three innings and be on a 50-pitch limit.
  • Alvarez was 0 for 2 and is batting .086 with 15 strikeouts in 35 at-bats.
 
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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Prized Cincinnati Reds starter Johnny Cueto leaves in the fifth inning with a strained right triceps. (Getty Images)
Prized Cincinnati Reds starter Johnny Cueto leaves in the fifth inning with a strained right triceps. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

Z. Cozart
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Pittsburgh

G. Jones
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Shin-Soo Choo, CF4010012 .341
Zack Cozart, SS5131001 .175
Joey Votto, 1B2000302 .278
Todd Frazier, 3B3000214 .308
Jay Bruce, RF4010005 .280
Chris Heisey, LF3000011 .132
   a- Xavier Paul, PH-LF1000002 .364
    J.J. Hoover, P0000000 .000
Ryan Hanigan, C3000101 .038
Cesar Izturis, 2B3010100 .231
Johnny Cueto, P2000002 .000
    Alfredo Simon, P10100001.000
    Derrick Robinson, LF1000000 .222
Totals3217173  
a-grounded out for Heisey in the 7th
Batting
2B - Zack Cozart (1, Wilson), Jay Bruce (5, Locke)
HR - Zack Cozart (3, Locke)
RBI - Zack Cozart (6)
CS - Ryan Hanigan (1, 2nd base by Wilson/Martin)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Frazier-Izturis-Votto
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Johnny Cueto 4.1211130 2.60
Alfredo Simon (L,0-1) 2322120 6.43
J.J. Hoover 1.2200010 6.14
Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 52-35, Alfredo Simon 52-31, J.J. Hoover 27-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 7-2, Alfredo Simon 2-2, J.J. Hoover 1-3
Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 15, Alfredo Simon 10, J.J. Hoover 7
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF4011021 .341
Neil Walker, 2B4010002 .162
Andrew McCutchen, CF3100101 .243
Garrett Jones, 1B4021010 .313
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
Russell Martin, C4000012 .065
Pedro Alvarez, 3B2100110 .086
Travis Snider, RF3110000 .263
Clint Barmes, SS3010001 .133
Jeff Locke, P1000010 .000
   a- Josh Harrison, PH1000001 .125
    Justin Wilson, P0000000 .000
    Jared Hughes, P0000000 .000
   b- Jose Tabata, PH1011000 .133
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
    Gaby Sanchez, 1B0000000 .095
Totals3037326  
a-flied out for Locke in the 5th
b-doubled for Hughes in the 7th
Batting
2B - Garrett Jones (2, Cueto), Jose Tabata (1, Hoover)
RBI - Starling Marte (5), Garrett Jones (4), Jose Tabata (1)
2-OUT RBI - Starling Marte (2), Garrett Jones (3), Jose Tabata (1)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Alvarez-Walker-G. Jones
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeff Locke (W,1-1) 5411401 4.09
Justin Wilson (H,1) 1.2300220 0.00
Jared Hughes (H,2) 0.1000000 3.18
Mark Melancon (H,4) 1000000 0.00
Jason Grilli (S,5) 1000110 0.00
IBB - Izturis by Jeff Locke
HBP - Choo (by Jeff Locke)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Locke 87-45, Justin Wilson 40-21, Jared Hughes 2-1, Mark Melancon 10-8, Jason Grilli 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Locke 10-4, Justin Wilson 1-1, Jared Hughes 1-0, Mark Melancon 2-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Locke 23, Justin Wilson 9, Jared Hughes 1, Mark Melancon 3, Jason Grilli 4
Game Information
Attendance - 25118
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 52
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Al Porter, Third Base - Jerry Layne