PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Getting to .500 certainly is not the ultimate goal
for a franchise that has been to the postseason in three of the last
Considering the Cincinnati Reds started the year at 3-8, however, they were happy to get their record to 11-11 on Thursday.
Ryan Ludwick lined a two-run double after two batters were hit by
pitches, lifting Tony Cingrani and the Reds over the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Reds won for the seventh time in nine games.
"Three series wins in a row, back to .500," Ludwick said. "The
pitching was outstanding. Pitching wins championships and those guys did
an outstanding job. If we keep getting pitching like that, we're going
to be back in this thing in a hurry."
The Pirates have lost six of seven, scoring a total of 22 runs in that span.
Cingrani (2-2) allowed one run and six hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
Logan Ondrusek, Sam LeCure and Jonathan Broxton pitched one scoreless
inning each in relief of Cingrani. Broxton recorded his fourth save.
"Certainly a great series here," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We
had to battle -- they pitched us tough, as they always do. They've got a
good squad, and some way we found a way to grind out three victories
here. I'm really proud of the boys."
Ludwick's double in the sixth drove in Joey Votto and Todd Frazier.
Both of them were plunked by rookie Brandon Cumpton (0-1), promoted from
Triple-A earlier in the day.
"It was great because we were starting to get a little irritated
because we had three hit batters in the game and a couple of our guys
got squared up pretty good," Price said.
"I don't think there was any intent to it, but the fact his two-run
double followed the third hit by pitch had a little bit more sweetness
to it for sure," he said.
Cumpton gave up just two runs in seven innings while taking the
rotation spot of lefty Wandy Rodriguez, put on the disabled list Monday
with inflammation in his left knee.
Cumpton held the Reds to four hits while walking one and striking out
five, but also hit three batters. He had a string of 20 consecutive
scoreless innings in the major leagues, dating to last season, until
Ludwick snapped it.
"I was feeling good, trying to attack guys and be aggressive,"
Cumpton said. "Unfortunately, I let a couple of pitches get away."
Ludwick had two of the Reds' five hits. Neil Walker got two of Pittsburgh's seven hits.
The Pirates scored in the first inning when Pedro Alvarez singled in
Walker, who had drawn a walk. Pittsburgh left eight runners on base as
it fell a season-worst five games under .500 at 9-14 a year after both
making the postseason and having a winning record for the first time
"We can't worry about where we are right now," Pirates center fielder
Andrew McCutchen said. "We know we're going to be better. We're going
to learn as a team and keep pushing forward."
"It's having a trust in one another, having each other's backs. We've just to keep working on things."
NOTES: Reds CF Billy Hamilton was caught stealing as a pinch runner.
He didn't start, and Price said he wants to give the rookie leadoff
hitter some regular mental breaks throughout the season. ... Pittsburgh C
Russell Martin did not start for a second straight game with what
manager Clint Hurdle said after the game was "lower body soreness." .
Cincinnati opens a three-game series Friday night against the Braves at
Atlanta with RHP Homer Bailey 1-1, 5.75) facing RHP Ervin Santana (2-0,
0.86). ... The Pirates begin a three-game series Friday at St. Louis
against the Cardinals with RHP Gerrit Cole (2-1, 3.67) matching up
against RHP Shelby Miller (1-2, 3.57).