Reds' Cueto takes on Pirates

Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto hopes for some run support on Tuesday when the Reds open a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Cueto has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, but doesn't have the record to show for it, despite pitching to a 1.85 ERA. The Dominican hurler improved to 6-5 on Wednesday against the Los Angles Dodgers, as he scattered three hits and struck out 12 over six scoreless innings.


He is in the top two in the majors in the following categories: ERA (1.85), WHIP (0.775), complete games (three) and innings pitched (102).

"He's at the top of the list for me as far as National League starters," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Maybe I'm biased because I see all of his starts. What he's doing is special. I wish he had the won-loss record which would support what he's doing in every other facet of his game."

Pittsburgh would probably tend to agree to, as Cueto has won both of his starts against the Pirates and has allowed just one run and has fanned 16 batters in 18 innings against them. He's 15-4 lifetime against them with a 2.15 ERA in 23 starts.


Cincinnati has been red hot of late and comes into tonight's tilt having won four of its last five after a series win over National League Central-leading Milwaukee over the weekend. The Reds won that series emphatically on Sunday, as Billy Hamilton smacked a leadoff homer among his three hits, two RBI and pair of runs scored in a 13-4 shellacking at Miller Park.

Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier cracked two-run shots, while Ryan Ludwick went 4-for-5 with two runs scored for the Reds, who pounded out a season-high 19 hits. Frazier also had a two-run double.

Mike Leake (4-6) allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks over five innings to notch the win.

Pittsburgh is also playing better of late, but had a four-game winning streak stopped on Sunday with a 3-2, 10-inning loss in Miami. Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco and Josh Harrison each posted two hits, while Polanco also tallied a run for the Pirates, who fell for only the second time in their last seven games.

In three weekend starts against the Marlins, the trio of Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton and Vance Worley combined to pitch 22 innings, give up four runs and 17 hits and strike out 18 against three walks.


On the flip side, the Pirates' bullpen was charged with 11 of the 15 runs the Marlins scored in the series.

Getting the call for the Pirates on Tuesday will be righty Brandon Cumpton, who has won his last two starts. Cumpton beat the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, limiting them to a pair of runs and five hits in five innings to improve to 2-2 to go along with a 6.06 ERA.

Cumpton lost his first start of the season to the Reds and is 1-1 lifetime against them with a 1.35 ERA in four games (3 starts).

Pittsburgh has lost five of its seven matchups with the Reds this season.


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