PITTSBURGH (AP) The showdown between a pair of promising 23-year-olds with electric, if erratic, stuff never materialized. Pittsburgh's Tyler Glasnow couldn't find the strike zone on Monday night. Neither, really, could Cincinnati's Brandon Finnegan.
Instead, Michael Lorenzen - not too far removed from being a prospect himself - came in settled things down for the surprising Reds. The starter turned semi-reluctant reliever took over for a shaky Finnegan in the third inning and escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam unscathed to help propel Cincinnati to a 7-1 victory.
Lorenzen (1-0), retired all nine batters he faced as the Reds improved to 5-2.
''Stay ready so you don't have to get ready,'' Lorenzen said. ''Mentally I'm always ready. I love stuff like that. I went out there and had fun and picked up Finny.''
Cincinnati's bullpen - a serious issue last season on a team that lost 94 games - didn't allow a baserunner while ending Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak. Cody Reed followed Lorenzen with two perfect innings and Wandy Peralta struck out two in the ninth.
''They were just good,'' Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. ''(Catcher) Tucker (Barnhart) was putting down good fingers and they were executing the plan. It started with Lorenzen. He just started hitting spots. Everything was in play.''
Lorenzen started 21 games as a rookie in 2015 before going to the bullpen last season. He remains there for now, but he hopes not forever.
''I will be back in the rotation one day,'' Lorenzen said. ''When that time comes, I will capitalize on that opportunity and I will take advantage of it and I'll run with it and never look back.''
Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett hit solo home runs for the Reds. Billy Hamilton had two of Cincinnati's eight hits and added a pair of stolen bases as the Reds took advantage of a sloppy 2017 debut by Glasnow.
Still, Lorenzen found himself entering with the bases packed in the third while trying to protect a four-run lead. A fly ball, a fielder's choice and a strikeout later he was darting to the dugout, later joking he wanted to finish the rest of the game.
''I knew it was going to happen,'' Lorenzen said. ''I knew I was going to go out there and get out of it.''
The 6-foot-8 Glasnow earned a call up last summer after dominating at Triple-A but struggled in seven appearances, losing his only two decisions and walking 13 in 23 1/3 innings. He spent the offseason trying to refine his stuff and become more adept at holding runners on base. He didn't take a step forward in either department in his fifth career start in the majors, failing to make it out of the second inning as he battled control issues.
Glasnow walked five - including four straight in the first - and left after throwing just 35 of his 64 pitches for strikes.
''I don't know,'' Glasnow said. ''Just didn't feel it today. Felt good early on, got a little long toward the end and things started to fall apart a little bit. Just got to forget about this one and go to the next one.''
Hamilton led off the first with a single then stole second and moved to third on a pop fly. Four consecutive walks followed, all of them on 3-2 counts. By the time Barnhart grounded out to first, the Reds were up 3-0. Things got no better for Glasnow in the second. Hamilton and Jose Peraza singled with one out, moved up a base on a double steal and scored on a two-run single by Adam Duvall .
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle made a rare non-pitching change visit to the mound to try to settle Glasnow down but it didn't work. He left to a smattering of boos after his fifth and final walk.
''He tried to counterpunch, but it was just a hard night,'' Hurdle said.
Reds: SS Zach Cozart was scratched an hour before first pitch due to a sore wrist. Jose Peraza filled in.
Pirates: Gave 2B Josh Harrison the day off after he was hit in the left calf by a pitch late in Sunday's 10-inning victory over Atlanta.
Reds: Rookie Davis makes the second start of his career. The 23-year-old lasted just three innings in his major league debut last week against Philadelphia.
Pirates: Jameson Taillon makes his second start of the season. The 25-year-old pitched seven shutout innings last week against Boston.
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