The Cincinnati Reds finally win a series, oh my goodness, championship! Alright I’ll stop. Right-hander Johnny Cueto pitched his third career shutout, and first baseman Joey Votto hit a two-run home run, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series between National League Central rivals.
Cueto allowed just three hits had a career-high 12 strikeouts en route to his seventh career complete game.
Left-hander Francisco Liriano allowed three earned runs and six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings for Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati scored in the first inning without recording a base hit.
Liriano began the game by walking center fielder Billy Hamilton, who stole second, then reached third and scored on wild pitches to put the Reds ahead 1-0.
The only hit allowed by Cueto through three innings was catcher Tony Sanchez’s dribbler that went for an infield single.
After a rocky first three frames in which he threw two wild pitches and issued two walks, Liriano recorded a perfect third inning with two strikeouts.
But Pittsburgh’s offense failed to provide any run support.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen doubled with one out in the fourth, but Cueto struck out third baseman Pedro Alvarez and first baseman Gaby Sanchez to end the inning.
Left fielder Jose Tabata made a sensational running catch of catcher Brayan Pena’s long drive before crashing into the wall with his left shoulder. Tabata walked off the field with assistance from manager Clint Hurdle and a trainer . Starling Marte replaced him in left field.
Following a rough first inning, Liriano settled down. But in the seventh inning, Votto launched his 0-1 pitch for a two-out, two-run home run that put Cincinnati ahead 3-0. It was Votto’s fourth home run of the season, I guess he’s loving that move to the two hole.
Reds added one more in the eighth on a Pena double that went over the head of the right fielder.
Cueto came back on for the ninth, got two strikeouts to begin, and then got McCutchen to line out to right to end the game.
The win will give this team so momentum, as they head off to a three cities, 10 game road trip that will begin Friday afternoon with three in Chicago against the Cubs.