If the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t have to see Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto anytime in the near future, it would be a welcomed blessing.
After throwing a three-hit shutout against the Pirates last Thursday, Cueto was at it again, silencing the Pirates bats to the tune of a complete-game, three-hit gem as the Reds won 4-1 Tuesday night at PNC Park.
Cueto surrendered only one walk, to McCutchen, who had two of the Pirates three hits. Jordy Mercer reached on an error during Cueto’s dominant mid-game span.
Cueto and the Pirates’ Edinson Volquez were hooked up in a masterful pitcher’s duel through six innings, but just like they did on Thursday, the Reds struck big in the seventh inning.
This time the damage was done by the bottom of the Cincinnati order.
After Pena was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle elected to face Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart instead of walking him to bring Cueto to the plate with two outs.
Cosart made the Bucs pay as he doubled to left to score Todd Frazier, giving Cueto more than enough offense on the night.
Volquez was also outstanding on the night, allowing only the two runs and five hits through seven innings, but the Pirates couldn’t give him any offense.
The Bucs had a pair of runners on in the second inning but Cueto got Mercer and Volquez to ground out to end the Pirates lone threat of the game.
Cueto even added an RBI single of his own in the ninth off Stolmy Pimentel to make it 4-0. The Reds finished the night with 10 hits but managed only one in the first six innings against Volquez.
However the story of the night was once again Cueto and once again the Pirates offense had no answers.
The Pirates and Reds will play the third game of their four-game series tomorrow night at PNC Park. Alfredo Simon (2-1, 0.86 ERA) will get the ball for Cincinnati and will be opposed by Charlie Morton (0-2, 4.32).