PITTSBURGH -- The Vanimal is back.
Well, at least for one day.
Vance Worley shook off three bad starts in a row and was borderline dominant Saturday as he pitched the Pirates to a 3-2 win over the Reds before a crowd of 38,023 at PNC Park.
Worley (6-4) went 6 1/3 innings, gave up only three hits, two runs (one earned) and struck out four while allowing only two walks.
He made one key mistake and he paid for it when Reds third baseman Todd Frazier hit a solo homer in the top of the fourth inning, but other than that was in control.
The Reds second run came in the seventh inning and was charged to Worley, but Justin Wilson was actually on the mound and it came as a result of an error by Ike Davis on a popup to shallow right field.
The win was a big one for the third-place Pirates (71-64) as it clinched their third series win in a row and they also picked up a game on the second-place Cardinals (71-63), who lost 5-1 to the Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader.
Andrew Lambo, who started in right field and batted second, got the Pirates rally started for the second day in a row as he hit a one-out single to left in the bottom of the first inning.
Andrew McCutchen then drew a walk and was followed by Neil Walker, who hit a three-run homer over the right centerfield wall to give the Pirates an early 3-0 lead.
The Pirates threatened to add on in the inning when Russell Martin followed Walker with a double to left center but Simon got Ike Davis and Starling Marte to hit into back-to-back groundouts to get out of the inning.
Simon (13-9) then settled in and allowed only one more hit over the next six innings. He was really never in danger in any inning but didn't get much help from his teammates. When he left the game in the eighth, the Reds (65-71) were trailing 3-2.
The Reds managed just three hits in the game while the Pirates had only four.
Tony Watson pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Pirates and closer Mark Melancon pitched the ninth inning to earn his 26th save.
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