Cincinnati Reds and Johnny Cueto take series opener from Pittsburgh Pirates


May 31, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Friday night’s game, the Pittsburgh Pirates had been owned by Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto, as he had a 7-2 record against them at PNC Park.

In the 1,000th game in PNC Park history, the story would be no different as the Pirates lost 6-0.

The last time Cueto pitched in Pittsburgh, he was taken out of the game early with an injury. This time, the Pirates may as well have been the injured ones as the offense managed just a Brandon Inge single in Cueto’s eight innings of work.

Wandy Rodriguez started for the Pirates and would go seven innings while allowing two runs. The first came in the fourth inning when Jay Bruce came to the plate and connected for a solo home run, his eighth of the season.

Brandon Phillips, who came in tied for the National League lead in RBIs, also hit a solo homer, his ninth, in the sixth to make it 2-0.

In the first inning, Cueto hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch and when Pirates reliever Mike Zagurski was called upon in the eighth inning, he immediately nailed Phillips with a pitch.

Phillips took exception but jogged to first base without incident. The Reds second baseman then stole second base, moved to third on a Bruce single and scored on a wild pitch.

Zagurski struggled to get an out, needing five batters to retire a Red. A fourth run scored before that when Derrick Robinson singled. Zagurski was clearly struggling with control but pitched into the ninth inning as well.

Robinson walked, forcing in another run in an inning that had a walk and two more wild pitches. Zagurski was being used to spare the rest of the bullpen, but the big lefty threw 57 pitches and couldn’t complete two frames. He was replaced by Bryan Morris, whose four-pitch walk to his first batter added another run.

Sam LeCure pitched the ninth inning for Cincinnati and set the side down in order to secure the victory.


The Pirates will face the Reds again tomorrow with the game starting 7:15 p.m. The game will be televised by FOX. Cincinnati’s Mike Leake (4-2, 3.02 ERA) goes against Francisco Liriano (3-1, 2.35). The game will be followed by a Kool & The Gang concert on the field.