Great American Ballpark
The rain from last night certainly didn't slow down the Pirates today.
Paul Maholm was machine-like, retiring the first 11 Reds he faced before finishing with seven innings pitched and just one earned run allowed.
The offense was also in gear, getting home runs from Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, and Adam LaRoche.
For Cincinnati, starter Johnny Cueto played in a very "feast or famine" manner. While he struck out nine Pirates in six innings of work, he also gave up a number of extra base hits.
The Pirates got things off on the right foot again, as Nyjer Morgan reached base in the first inning. He stole second easily on a payoff pitch to Freddy Sanchez, but it wouldn't matter in the long run.
McLouth mashed a pitch 407 feet to right field for his second hit of the season. He's got two hits and two home runs at the moment.
After Doumit reached on an infield single due to Cincinnati moronically putting the shift on, the LaRoche brothers went down in style.
The Pirates threatened again in the third inning, but a nice play by Jay Bruce to throw out Sanchez at the plate kept it a 2-0 advantage for Pittsburgh.
However, the Bucs did add some insurance for Maholm in the fourth inning. Brandon Moss spanked a double down the third-base line, and Jack Wilson drove him in on the next at-bat with another double.
After Maholm then struck out, the Reds gave absolutely no respect to the bat of Morgan, bringing all the outfielders in close.
Nice try, but he'll make you pay. Morgan smashed a pitch to deep center that eluded the glove of Willy Taveras for a triple which gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead.
The Reds finally showed up in the bottom of the fifth. After Maholm allowed a walk to Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Edwin Encarnacion both singled.
But Votto, completely overestimating his own speed, was gunned down at the plate by Moss to preserve the shutout. Votto was done after a couple yards, and he came up gimpy after ripping his pant leg.
We'll get an ice pack and a band-aid for you later, Joey. Note that Moss has now mowed down three baserunners since his Opening Day blunder.
In the seventh inning, the Reds make a call to the 'pen because Cueto had probably thrown about 500 pitches already. They brought in this cute little Oompa Loompa, Danny Herrera. He's about three inches taller than being a legal midget.
Morgan walked, then promptly stole second standing up.
Dirty Sanchez fanned on a full count, completely missing a screwball that probably would have gone into the Reds' dugout. Nate the Great wasn't fooled by Herrera's stuff, though, and took the same pitch and drove it into right-center, scoring Morgan.
Bruce tried to throw him out at the plate, but he missed badly and Morgan bulldozed catcher Ramon Hernandez in true hockey style.
Maholm gave up his only run in the seventh when Bruce sacrificed to second, which allowed Brandon Phillips to come on home. The Reds tried to get something going in the eighth against Pirates' reliever John Grabow, but Alex Gonzalez tagged himself out on a cue shot that landed two inches in front of home plate.
Pinch-hitter Micah Owings (yes, the man does everything) doubled off the left field wall, but his efforts were wasted as Tavares and Jerry Hairston Jr. both fell victim to the strikeout.
Then, as if the game wasn't over already, the Pirates put an exclamation on it in the ninth. Reds reliever Mike Lincoln handed out some free passes and eventually loaded the bases for Doumit.
After Lincoln danced around the strike zone, he tossed up a fat one to Doumit, who was sitting right on it. As soon as it left Lincoln's hand, it was 20 rows back in right field for a grand slam.
But not even that was enough. Adam LaRoche made it a back-to-back with a solo homer in the next at-bat.
The Pirates brought in next-to-worthless reliever Jesse Chavez to finish up, and he quickly gave up a few base hits and the Reds got a second run. But with two men on and one out, Jay Bruce made a horrendous mistake.
Ramon Hernandez drove a ball to deep center, which was caught by McLouth, but Bruce floored it around the bases without a care in the world.
Nate calmly got the ball to the infield, and Sanchez doubled him off easily before he even realized what was going on. Game over.
Final Score: Pirates 10, Reds 2
STARS OF THE GAME
PIT: Nyjer Morgan (3-for-4, 2 runs, RBI, 2 stolen bases) and Ryan Doumit (3-for-5, run, 4 RBI, grand slam)
CIN: Johnny Cueto (6 IP, 9 strikeouts)
Ian Snell (0-1) will take on Aaron Harang (0-1) tomorrow at Great American Ballpark at 1:10 p.m. ET. The Pirates will go for the mini-sweep before heading home on Monday.
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