Friday, May 4, 2012

Cueto, Reds force Bucs to walk the plank

Cueto continued his career mastery over the Bucs

After dropping 10 of 15 to the Pirates (11-15) last season, Cincinnati (13-12) strolled into PNC Park with one thing on their mind on Friday, revenge. The Reds were undoubtedly chomping at the bit for some redemption and redemption is what they received after pummeling the host Buccos 6-1.

Johnny Cueto was Cueto-esque in this one, going the complete distance to improve his record to a perfect 4-0 on the season. Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia took the loss to drop his overall mark to 1-2.

The Reds got the scoring underway in the top of the second when Chris Heisey's bunt single brought home Jay Bruce -- making it 1-0.

Ryan Hanigan helped pad the lead to 2-0 when his double to left plated Heisey in the fourth.

The Buccos managed to scratch a run across in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of Pedro Alvarez's sac fly which scored Nate McLouth.

However, Cincy was able to get that run right back the following frame when rookie SS Zack Cozart crossed the dish thanks to a single by Brandon Phillips.

The seventh inning proved to be disastrous for Correia as Cozart and Drew Stubbs went back-to-back to extend the Reds lead to 5-1.

Bruce added one more for good measure in the eighth when he blasted his eighth homer of the year -- making it 6-1. And that's how the final score would read.

Here's the good, the bad, and the notables from Friday evening's affair:

The Good:
- The Reds take game one of a road series and win for the fourth time in their past five games.
- Cueto was marvelous as usual. He limited Pittsburgh to seven hits and one run over nine frames to lower his ERA on the year to 1.34. He struckout four and did not walk a single batter. He's well on his way to an All-Star nod and perhaps even a Cy Young Award.
- Heisey came to play tonight. The streaky outfielder went 2-5 with a triple, a run scored, a RBI and an outfield assist.
- Stubbs, Cozart, Hanigan and Bruce each tallied a pair of hits as well.

The Bad:
- Joey Votto was the only starting position player to be held hitless. He was 0-3 with a strikeout and a couple of walks.
- Three members of the Reds bullpen were caught snoozing in the bottom of the ninth due to inactivity. I guess they can thank Cueto for that. Okay, I'm just kidding about this one.

The Notables:
- The Reds collected eight extra base hits -- a season high.
- Cueto improves to 11-3 all-time versus Pittsburgh -- 7-1 all-time at PNC Park.
- On this date in 1869, the Red Stockings beat the Cincinnati Great Westerns 45-9 in the first professional baseball game ever played. The Red Stockings would go on to win their first 130 games before succumbing to the Brooklyn Atlantics 8-7 in June of 1870.
- The ole' National League rivals tangle once more for game two of the 3-game set on Saturday. The well-rested Mike Leake (0-3, 6.65 ERA) hopes to earn his first victory of the season and will do so against right-hander James McDonald (1-1, 2.97). The action is set to get underway at 7:05 PM ET.

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