Apr 5, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) reacts against the New York Mets during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Reds Ace Johnny Cueto Stifles Pittsburgh Pirates' Bats In Shutout Loss

Pitchers Francisco Liriano and Johnny Cueto hooked up for the first time since last season’s wild-card matchup at PNC Park.

This time there would be no “Cueto” chants as the Cincinnati right-hander was spectacular, shutting down the Pittsburgh Pirates in a complete-game masterpiece as the Reds won the series finale 4-0 Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Apr 16, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Liriano and Cueto were hooked up in a great pitcher’s duel for six innings, but one mistake from Liriano to Joey Votto in the seventh inning proved to be crucial. Votto smacked a two-run homer to right center, breaking open a 1-0 game at the time.

In reality, Cueto got all the offense the he needed in the first inning without the Reds ever putting the bat on the ball.

Liriano started the game uncharacteristically shaky, as 10 of his first 13 pitches were nowhere close to the strike zone.

Reds leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton drew a walk to start the game, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Liriano then walked Votto and Hamilton came around to score on another wild pitch.

The veteran left-hander settled down after that until allowing the two-run shot to Votto with two outs in the seventh to make it a 3-0 game.

Liriano (0-3) allowed the three runs on seven hits, while striking out seven through seven innings of work.

However the Pirates offense had no chance on the afternoon against Cueto as they only hit three balls to the outfield the entire afternoon.

Cueto (1-2) allowed only three hits on the afternoon, striking out a career-high 12 batters. Eight of the 12 strike out came looking.

Their only real threat came in the fourth inning when Andrew McCutchen doubled with one out. But Cueto followed by striking out both Pedro Alvarez and Gaby Sanchez looking to end the threat.

Cincinnati tacked on an insurance run in eighth off of Stolmy Pimentel when Brayan Pena doubled in Chris Heisey on a ball that Travis Snider misplayed.

The loss dropped the Pirates under the .500 mark for the first time since April 18 last season when a loss to the Atlanta Braves put the Bucs at 7-8 on the season.

The Pirates didn’t fare well on their first road trip of the season, finishing with just a 3-6 mark.

The Bucs return home tomorrow when they begin a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Edinson Volquez (0-0, 1.29 ERA) will get the ball for the Pirates and will be opposed by Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 0.96).

Note: Jose Tabata got the start in left field for the Pirates in place of Starling Marte, but had to leave the game in the bottom of the fifth inning after making a spectacular catch crashing into the wall. It is being reported that Tabata is suffering from mild concussion symptoms.

Tags: Francisco Liriano Joey Votto Johnny Cueto Pittsburgh Pirates

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