CINCINNATI -- Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler homered, and Robert Stephenson had a career-high 11 strikeouts, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at Great American Ball Park.
Stephenson (2-4) wore "Bob" on the back of his jersey for MLB Player's Weekend and gave up two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. His 11 strikeouts were the second-most for a Reds pitcher this season.
Schebler went 3-for-3 with a triple, homer and three RBIs for Cincinnati (55-74), which improved to 9-2 this season against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh (61-68) began a stretch of 28 straight games against National League Central opponents. The Pirates have dropped 10 of 13.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases in the sixth, but Tim Adleman struck out pinch-hitter Jose Osuna to end the inning. Adleman didn't fare too well in the seventh when Josh Bell's 22nd home run, a three-run blast, cut the deficit to 7-5, but that's as close as the Pirates would get.
Bell went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs.
Bucs starter Ivan Nova (11-11) allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits, including a pair of homers through five innings.
Patrick Kivlehan's two-run, pinch-hit double increased Cincinnati's lead to four in the seventh.
Stephenson struck out the first six batters he faced and needed only 28 pitches to do it. Five struck out swinging. The streak ended when he walked Francisco Cervelli to begin the third inning.
The major league record for strikeouts to begin a game is eight, last accomplished by the Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets in 2014.
Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with a double in the second. He scored on Schebler's triple.
Tucker Barnhart's sacrifice fly put Cincinnati ahead 2-0.
Stephenson tied his career high with nine strikeouts in the fourth inning, but John Jaso's RBI double to center tied the score at 2-2.
Barnhart's RBI single put the Reds ahead 3-2 in the fourth.
Nova struck out three straight batters after the Reds loaded the bases in the fourth inning with no outs, but not before his wild pitch allowed a fourth run to score.
The Reds played long ball against Nova in the fifth when Duvall's 30th home run and Schebler's 25th gave them a 7-2 lead.
NOTES: Per the Reds, RHP Robert Stephenson set a new modern club record with six straight strikeouts to begin the game. ... Pirates C Francisco Cervelli, who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list (left wrist inflammation) on Friday, left after three innings with left quad discomfort. ... Pirates C Elias Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Reds C Stuart Turner was placed on the three-day paternity list, OF Jesse Winker was placed on the 10-day DL and OF Philip Ervin was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto extended his season-high, on-base streak to 29 games with an eighth-inning walk.