PITTSBURGH -- The Reds got another solid outing from right-hander Johnny Cueto and downed the Pirates 6-1 on Friday night at PNC Park.
Cueto allowed one run on six hits in a complete game and improved his record to 4-0. It was his first complete game of the season and the fifth of his career. He lowered his ERA to 1.31. Cueto upped his record against the Pirates to 11-3, he is now 7-1 at PNC Park.
"In the first three innings I wasn't feeling good," Cueto stated. "The heat was in me and it was hot, and then I came back on the bench and Bronson Arroyo told me a couple things and he kind of got me going and then after that everything went well."
Cueto was pleased with the complete game.
"That's what I want," Cueto said. "I don't want this to be the first and the last one. I want to keep throwing complete games. It felt good today and a lot of my pitches were landing where I wanted them."
Reds manager Dusty Baker credits Cueto's great start this season to hard work.
"It's hard work, the guy works hard and he probably runs more than anybody on our team, he's learned how to work and how to run to get his endurance and stamina up and to control his emotions," Baker opined. "Early in his career he would always have that one bad inning and his emotions would get out of whack, and he's learned to settle himself down."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says Cueto was on top of his game.
"Since he's implemented this new tuck, command of all his pitches -- the fastball has good finish, slider is tight and sharp with depth, the change anytime to left-handers. The command is really good, he is very confident out there," Hurdle explained. "We're not the first team that he buzzed. Numbers are legit, so we'll have to find an answer to him the next time we see him."
Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones tipped his hat to Cueto, who threw 110 pitches, 75 for strikes.
"He's been pitching well, mixing it up, hitting spots well," Jones said. "Got that slide step when has runners on, gets the ball quickly to home plate, gets on you quickly. He definitely pitched a great game. He was very effective."
Pirates starter Kevin Correia absorbed the loss falling to 1-2 on the season. The right-hander was touched up for five runs and nine hits in a seven inning stint.
The Reds jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. With one out, Jay Bruce doubled to right. Bruce scored when Chris Heisey laid down a perfect two-out bunt single down the third-base line.
"That was a heads up play," Baker said. "That's something that catches everybody off guard."
Cincinnati struck again in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs, Heisey tripled off the top of the wall in left field. Ryan Hannigan followed with an RBI double inside third base, giving the Reds a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates broke through against Cueto in the bottom of the fourth. Nate McLouth and Neil Walker stroked back-to-back singles and Pedro Alvarez knocked in McLouth with a sacrifice fly to left, slicing the Reds lead to 2-1. The inning ended after Garrett Jones, who had reached on a fielders choice, was gunned down at the plate on a double to left by Clint Barmes. Heisey hit cutoff man, Zack Cozart, who made a strong throw to Hanigan, nailing Jones.
"Probably the key moment in the game was that well executed cutoff and relay on the double down in the corner by Barmes," Baker said. "That would have tied the score, and in that inning they were first-ball hitting and they were hitting Cueto pretty good, and he got out of the inning with the cutoff and relay."
The Reds increased their lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning. Cozart singled and eventually came around to score on an RBI single by Brandon Phillips.
Cozart and Drew Stubbs increased the Reds lead to 5-1 in the seventh with back-to-back solo home runs.
Bruce smacked his eighth home run of the season off Pirates reliever Chris Resop, leading off the top of the eighth giving Cincinnati a 6-1 lead.
"When you're out there with Cueto, you know you have a chance to win every time," Bruce said. "He's your guy you give the ball to and say 'look win us a game', and he did a great job tonight, and it's definitely easier when you've got a guy out there like that just cruising through guys."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.