Cueto one-hits Pirates as Reds roll
Right-hander picks up second win of season
PITTSBURGH -- The Cincinnati Reds got an outstanding performance from right-hander Johnny Cueto and downed the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-0 on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
Cueto hurled a complete-game shutout and limited the Pirates to one hit. It marked the first time this season that Cueto has pitched more than six innings. He upped his record to 2-1.
It was the first complete game of Cueto's big league career. It was also the first one hitter by a Reds pitcher since John Smiley did it against the Cardinals on September 22, 1996.
"Cueto had an electric fastball and he was throwing in and out and up and down," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He'd get behind and then he'd come in there with that fastball. He and the catcher, [Ramon] Hernandez, were on the same page big time tonight and he minimized his pitches that was the big thing."
"I've been working a lot before each start," Cueto said. "I've been working out pretty hard and I felt real strong. The primary pitch tonight was the fastball."
The only hit that Cueto allowed was a third-inning single by Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno.
"I'm so glad he didn't throw a no-hitter," Cedeno said. " I don't want to be selfish, but at least we put one hit up there."
Cedeno said that Cueto was on top of his game.
"He threw a lot of strikes. He moved it around good. He threw a great game."
When you let him get that deep into a game," Pirates manager John Russell said, "he's only going to get better like he did. He was tough. "
Reds third baseman Scott Rolen said it was a pleasure to play defense behind Cueto tonight.
"No question, " Rolen stated. "We as defenders love guys that are out there throwing strikes, because the ball is either getting put in play and everybody is trying to make plays. Tonight, when the ball wasn't getting put in play, he seemed like he was throwing strikes with all of his pitches. As defenders we love to see when a guy goes out there with confidence and is aggressive in the strike zone."
Pirates starter Charlie Morton took the loss, falling to 1-6 on the season. The right-hander went six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits.
The Reds jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Morton surrendered back-to-back singles to Chris Heisey -- his first Major League hit -- and Brandon Phillips. Joey Votto lofted a sacrifice fly scoring Heisey. Phillips scampered home on an RBI double by Rolen.
"It was a big night for Heisey," Baker said. "He got his first hit and first home run and first RBI. It's good to do it in his home state of Pennsylvania where his home people were. I've always said I like to play guys in front of their home people because they tend to play their best and it was a big night. Everybody was happy for him and happy for Cueto and happy for each other."
Cincinnati increased its lead to 3-0 in the sixth inning. Jay Bruce tripled and scored on a double by Hernandez.
The Reds salted the game away in the seventh inning against Pirates relievers D.J. Carrasco and Jack Taschner. Bruce came up with the key blow, a two-run double off Taschner, upping the lead to 5-0.
Heisey capped off a 3-for-4 night with a two-run home run off reliever Jeff Karstens in the eighth inning. It was Heisey's first Major League home run. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto followed with back-to-back doubles and Bruce stroked a run-scoring single giving the Reds a 9-0 lead.
"It was good to get the first one out of the way," Heisey said. "I think it just helped me relax and go from there. I was glad that there was a lot of family here. My mom couldn't make it and my dad passed away a couple of years ago and in the ninth inning it started to hit me and I really wish he was here, but he's here in spirit. I can't really ask for a better day."
The Reds notched their fourth win in a row and sent the Pirates to their third consecutive loss.
"It's been a lot of fun since I've been up here," Heisey explained. "We're winning and it's obviously a lot more fun when you win and I kind of feel like I had a big part in the win tonight. It feels good and Cueto pitched amazing and hopefully we can keep it rolling."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.