Baseball / Sports

Pirates falter, 3-2, in final game of series against Reds

PITTSBURGH -- Chris Heisey hit two home runs and Johnny Cueto was, well, Johnny Cueto, and the duo led the Reds to a 3-2 win over the Pirates in the final game of a three-game series before a crowd of 37,591 at PNC Park.

Heisey's first homer came in the top of the fifth inning and was a two-run shot that tied the game. His second homer came in the top of the ninth off of Pirates reliever Jared Hughes and turned out to be the game winner.

Meanwhile, Cueto (16-8) showed again why he is one of the best pitchers in baseball as he shook off a couple of early Pirates homers. He went eight innings and gave up nine hits and two runs (both earned), all while striking out six and walking only one.

It is the 13th time in his last 16 starts that Cueto, who threw 81 of 113 pitches for strikes, has given up two runs or less. It also was his fourth win over the Pirates this year.

Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer, and Jordy Mercer added another in the bottom of the second. Just like that, the Pirates had a 2-0 lead on Cueto and the Reds.

The lead should have been 3-0 as Starling Marte singled to get on base ahead of Mercer's home run, but he was picked off by Cueto and caught in a run down for the first out of the inning.

Cueto, however, settled in and shut the Pirates down through the eighth inning, then giving way to closer Aroldis Chapman, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 29th save of the season.

The late homer and loss spoiled another excellent outing by Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano, who went seven innings, gave up five hits and two runs, and struck out five while walking three.

One of those walks came back to haunt Liriano as he walked Ryan Ludwick to lead off the top of the fifth. He was on base when Heisey hit the first of his two homers.

The Pirates (71-65) will next travel to St. Louis (71-63) for an important three-game series with the Cardinals, who they trail in the wildcard.

The Reds (66-71) next go to Baltimore for a three-game series with the Orioles that starts Tuesday.

(c)2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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