The Pittsburgh Pirates have had strong starting pitching quite a bit this season, a shutdown bullpen fairly often and a robust offense in stretches. They just haven't gotten all three together on a consistent basis.
So they will be trying to replicate the three good elements they got Monday when their series against the Cincinnati Reds continues Tuesday at PNC Park.
In the series opener Monday, Pittsburgh (67-71) broke a two-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over the Reds.
The Pirates got 6 2/3 scoreless innings from starter Trevor Williams, a bullpen that gave up a run on Scooter Gennett's homer but held on, and an offense that produced more than three runs for the first time in seven games.
The win came on the heels of a 3-6 road trip that ended with two losses in three game at Atlanta.
"It was a tough series in Atlanta. We needed to turn it around," said Adam Frazier, who had his second career four-hit game, including a homer, and three RBIs for the Pirates.
Cincinnati (59-79) fell 20 games below .500 after its two-game winning streak was halted.
The Reds have lost nine of their past 12 and are narrowing their focus on young players. That includes Blake Trahan, who got his first major-league hit Monday.
"We've seen Blake in spring training for a few years," Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. "Really a high-energy young man. ... He gets that hit. He gets that out of the way. It's just going to be a great experience for him in September."
Trahan started at shortstop and had a two-out single in the seventh inning.
"It's definitely good to get that first one out of the way and be able to just relax and play baseball again," Trahan said.
In the middle game of the series, Cincinnati left-hander Cody Reed (0-1, 3.26 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Joe Musgrove (5-8, 3.80).
Reed, in his third time up with the Reds this season, will be making his second straight rotation start, and third overall this year, as one of the young players being groomed for the future.
On Thursday, Reed did not get a decision after he gave up one run and three hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 2-1, 11-inning loss to Milwaukee.
That was with a limited pitch count, something that won't be in effect Tuesday.
"He threw the ball well," Riggleman said of Reed's outing against the Brewers. "That's a very tough lineup, and they are swinging the bat very well. He really did a nice job.
"Next time, hopefully, he pitches that way and then we can let him get out there (for) 90-100 (pitches) maybe."
This will be Reed's fourth career appearance -- and first start -- against Pittsburgh. He is 0-0 with a save and a 3.38 ERA in the three games.
Musgrove's record has been affected by a lack of run support, similar to the Pirates' rotation in general. He has lasted at least seven innings in five of his past eight starts and six of his past 10, has allowed 17 earned runs in 44 innings since the All-Star break, and has walked two batters in his past 30 innings.
Musgrove, however, is coming off a shaky outing. He began well, throwing 21 strikes in a row, but ended up giving up five runs in six innings Thursday in a 5-0 loss at St. Louis.
"I came out sharp, but I didn't keep my foot on the gas. I didn't keep going," Musgrove said.
In Musgrove's only career start against Cincinnati, he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-6 loss on July 17.