PITTSBURGH (AP) — Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four. Simon has pitched at least six innings in each of his four starts this season as a replacement for the injured Mat Latos. Simon pitched exclusively in relief the previous two years.
Bruce had two hits and knocked in the final run of the decisive three-run fifth inning against Charlie Morton (0-3) that gave the Reds a 4-2 lead. Billy Hamilton also had two hits for Cincinnati, which has won seven of 10 games since a 3-7 start.
Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless ninth inning, despite allowing two hits, for his third save.
Andrew McCutchen had two hits and homered for the third consecutive night for the Pirates, who lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
Morton also had control issues, walking five in six innings while giving up four runs — three earned – and four hits with four strikeouts.
The Reds used their speed to go ahead in a fifth inning that included two stolen bases and the second throwing error of the game by catcher Chris Stewart. Hamilton singled in the first run, the second run scored on Stewart’s error as he tried to throw out Hamilton trying to steal second base. Hamilton scored on Bruce’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Bruce doubled and scored on Devin Mesoarco’s grounder in the eighth to make it 5-2.
McCutchen put the Pirates ahead 2-1 with a leadoff home run in third inning, his fourth. Pittsburgh opened the scoring in the first when Travis Snider drew a bases-loaded walk from Simon.
The Reds tied it in the second when Roger Bernandina drew a leadoff walk, stole second, continued to third on Stewart’s wild throw and scored on Ramon Santiago’s ground out.
NOTES: Pittsburgh C Russell Martin was a late scratch because of what the Pirates said was “manager’s discretion.” . Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman threw early batting practice, the first time he had faced hitters since suffering fractures of his eye and nose along with a mild concussion March 19 when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Salvador Perez. Chapman pitched from behind a protective screen and the next step is for him to throw batting practice without the screen sometime this weekend when the Reds visit Atlanta. . Cincinnati INF/OF Skip Schumaker will report to the Reds’ extended spring training camp on Friday at Goodyear, Ariz., as he continues to rehab the left shoulder he dislocated while diving for a ball in the outfield during a spring training game March 21. . Pittsburgh 1B Travis Ishikawa cleared waivers and elected free agency after declining an outright assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis. He was designated for assignment last Friday. . The Pirates are expected to recall RHP Brandon Cumpton from Indianapolis to start Thursday against LHP Tony Cingrani (1-2, 3.22) in the finale of the four-game series.