Game two of the battle of the NL Central’s top teams went to Johnny Cueto and the Reds tonight. Brad Lincoln made a spot start, and pitched 3 solid innings before the wheels fell off in the fourth. Alex Presley lead off the game with a single, but nothing came of it. Brandon Phillips kicked off the scoring with a solo homer in the second, and Cueto was dominant through the next 6 innings.
In the fourth, Ryan Ludwick came up with the bases loaded. He lined the first pitch he saw into left-center for a bases clearing double to make the score 4-0. Ryan Hanigan got him home on an RBI single, and Lincoln’s day was done after the inning. Doug Slaten needed just 27 pitches to pitch the next 3 scoreless innings, saving the rest of the bullpen.
Josh Harrison got hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth, and was caught stealing by a mile, which ended any chance of getting to Cueto then. The bottom of the lineup finally got something going in the eighth when Rod Barajas lead off with a double. Pedro Alvarez had a pinch-hit single, but Cueto retired the next two guys. Neil Walker singled to left, getting the Bucs on the board and ending Cueto’s night. Logan Ondrusek came out in relief with two men on, and Andrew McCutchen took him deep to right to make it 5-4.
Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless eighth, and the Pirates would take their last raps against Aroldis Chapman. He got a week groundout and blew the next two guys away with fastballs, keeping his ERA at 0.00 and getting Cincinnati the win.
PIrates (28-27) – Reds (31-24)
Win: Cueto (6-3)
Loss: Lincoln (3-1)
Save: Chapman (6)