PITTSBURGH (AP) — Marlon Byrd hit a two-run homer during Cincinnati’s four-run first inning, and the Reds continued their mastery of Gerrit Cole with a 5-2 win Wednesday night.
The Reds have won — and scored at least three runs — in each of the three games this season it has faced Cole (11-3). The Pirates are 11-1 when Cole starts against any other team, and he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his 12 starts when he hasn’t faced Cincinnati.
Mike Leake (5-4), the Reds’ starter each time they’ve beaten Cole, limited the Pirates to two runs and eight hits in seven innings to win his seventh consecutive decision against them.
Ryan Mattheus and Manny Parra combined to work a scoreless eighth, and J.J. Hoover earned his first save in more than two years with a perfect ninth — closer Aroldis Chapman is not with the team because he’s on paternity leave. Hoover, a Pittsburgh native, had four prior career saves, but none since May 16, 2013.
Tucker Barnhart went 3 for 4 for Cincinnati, which has won five of its past seven.
Cole had allowed just three earned runs over four starts in 27 innings in June. The Reds jumped on him in the top of the first — all after two outs — Wednesday. RBI doubles by Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce were followed by Byrd’s two-run homer, his 12th, to center.
Byrd drove in Joey Votto with a two-out single in the fifth that re-established a four-run lead for the Reds.
Cole came in having allowed eight earned runs at home all season in five starts. He was charged with five on eight hits while needing 106 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings. His ERA rose above 2.00 for the first time since May, and he failed in his attempt to become the first Pittsburgh pitcher with 12 wins before the All-Star break in 41 years.
Leake stranded two runners in two of his final three innings, including during the seventh. With runners at second and third and two outs and facing Starling Marte — sixth in the NL in RBIs — Leake recorded his fifth strikeout.
He did not walk a batter.
Ivan DeJesus, Bruce and Eugenio Suarez each added two hits for the Reds.
The Pirates had won nine of their previous 12 overall but failed to extend their PNC Park win streak to eight, which would have been the second-longest in the ballpark’s 15-year history.
Pittsburgh had allowed six earned runs during the seven-game home winning streak, a total that was almost matched Wednesday.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips was a late scratch Wednesday because of a jammed left thumb sustained in the previous night’s game. Phillips had surgery on the same thumb last season. . RHP Raisel Iglesias, on the disabled list since June 5 because of a left oblique injury, threw a bullpen session of 30-35 pitches Wednesday.
Pirates: 1B/OF Corey Hart was placed on the disabled list Wednesday. Manager Clint Hurdle said it was because of left shoulder impingement that “he’s been dealing with for a while.”
Reds: Cincinnati remains in fourth place in the National League Central and at four games under .500. But the Reds have won six of eight games against the 40-31 Pirates and will attempt to make it three series wins against them this season with a victory Thursday.
Pirates: RHP A.J. Burnett (6-3, 2.05) allowed more hits in his most recent outing (14 in 6 2/3 innings) than he had during any of his previous 417 career starts. He will face the Reds for the third time this season, having allowed two earned runs in each of the previous two starts.
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