Cincinnati 2, Pittsburgh 1
When: 4:10 PM ET, Saturday, September 16, 2017
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
Joe West, 1B -
Tom Woodring, 2B -
Andy Fletcher, 3B -
CINCINNATI -- It is easy to forget Cincinnati Reds right-hander Sal Romano is a 23-year-old rookie.
That was especially difficult on Saturday afternoon when Romano shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates through a career-high eight innings.
Jesse Winker homered and Romano allowed only five hits, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-1 victory over the Pirates at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds are rebuilding around a stockpile of young pitching, including Romano (5-6), who is among several youngsters hoping to be in the mix for the 2018 rotation.
Romano didn't walk a batter on Saturday and had six strikeouts. Only one Pirate advanced past first base against him.
"He doesn't lack confidence," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's so focused on the task at hand. He has matured quickly since he's been here."
Cincinnati (65-84) improved to 12-6 versus Pittsburgh this season. The Reds won eight of their first nine games with the Pirates to begin the year.
Romano needed 38 pitches to get through the first two innings, but cruised through the next six innings by trusting the defense behind him and a solid mix of three pitches.
"I felt like I got into a good rhythm," Romano said. "Good fastball command. I threw my curveball for strikes. Changeup has been good for me."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was impressed.
"He controlled the strike zone," Hurdle said. "In eight innings, he threw 23 balls. He never threw more than three fastballs in a row."
Pittsburgh made it interesting in the ninth against the Reds' bullpen.
With closer Raisel Iglesias and setup guy Michael Lorenzen unavailable due to workload, right-hander Kevin Shackelford began the ninth.
Andrew McCutchen homered off Shackelford for Pittsburgh (68-81), which lost its fourth straight game. It was McCutchen's 26th homer of the season.
After David Freese walked with two outs, left-hander Cody Reed retired one batter for his first career save.
The Pirates have been looking for more consistency from right-hander Ivan Nova, who was 1-5 with a 7.31 ERA in his previous seven starts coming into Saturday's game.
Nova was much better on Saturday, allowing two runs on three hits over 6 1/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts before leaving the game with right calf discomfort.
The injury is not thought to be serious and Nova expects to make his next start.
"He pitched a really good game," Hurdle said. "His delivery was synced up. He had movement on his fastball. He had a good curveball. He had a solid strong outing today."
Nova retired the first 11 batters he faced with four strikeouts. There were a couple hard-hit balls in the first inning, one off Winker's bat that McCutchen made a diving catch on.
Joey Votto ended the streak with a solid single to left with two outs in the fourth. But Votto was picked off by Elias Diaz to end the inning.
Both pitchers made use of their defenses on Saturday.
Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez made a pair of back-handed stops.
Diaz doubled with one out in the fifth, but Adam Duvall's sliding grab of Jordy Mercer's sinking liner prevented the game's first run.
Diaz had two of the Pirates' five hits off Romano through seven frames.
Votto's single was the only blemish for Nova, and the game remained scoreless into the seventh.
"In a pitcher's duel like that, don't be the first to break," Romano said.
Winker led off with his sixth homer to put Cincinnati ahead 1-0. Zack Cozart followed with a double. With one out, Nova walked Suarez and, after a meeting at the mound, was escorted off the field by the training staff.
Left-hander Dan Runzler replaced Nova and gave up Scooter Gennett's RBI single making the score 2-0.
Winker took over in the leadoff spot with Billy Hamilton on the disabled list.
"The last three or four games, I felt like I hit the ball hard but into tough luck," Winker said. "I was trying to get on base. I knew the guys behind me would drive me in. The ball just carried out."
NOTES: Reds 2B Scooter Gennett returned to the lineup after missing three games with left hand inflammation. ... Pirates OF Starling Marte hasn't played since Tuesday when he hurt his finger and shoulder sliding into a base. He was expected to get more treatment on Saturday. ... The Reds announced that standout rookie RHP Tyler Mahle had reached his innings limit and would not pitch again this season. ... Pirates RHP Joaquin Benoit is expected to rejoin the club on Monday. He had been in the Dominican Republic tending to a family matter.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary