Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reds 2, Pirates 1 Nova Pitches Well, but Pirates Bats Quiet Again

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reds 2, Pirates 1 Nova Pitches Well, but Pirates Bats Quiet Again

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI - Saturday, right-hander Ivan Nova turned back the clock to April. He freed himself from a second-half spiral, facing the minimum through six scoreless innings at Great American Ball Park, but achieved a familiar result -a loss against the Cincinnati Reds. He exited in the seventh with an injury and was done in by an anemic Pirates offense in a 2-1 defeat.

Prior to the seventh, Nova allowed only one hit, a fourth-inning single by Joey Votto, who then waspicked off by catcher Elias Diaz. The Reds awakened the third time through the order. Jesse Winker struck a leadoff home run, Zack Cozart doubled and Eugenio Suarez walked. Nova motioned for an athletic trainer and departed mid-inning due to right calf discomfort.

"It's going to be fine," Nova assured afterward. "I'm going to be fine."

For Nova, it was a welcome return to his early season form. Saturday, he was charged with two runs in 6? innings on 79 pitches. He allowed three hits and a walk, striking out six. After posting a 3.21 ERA before the All-Star break, Nova had a 6.60 ERA in 10 second-half starts prior to Saturday. But in this game, like in April and May, Nova received little run support.

"He did his job today," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Nova (11-14) now is 0-4 against the Reds this season, and the Pirates - now defeated in nine of their past 10 games - are 6-12 against Cincinnati. Reds right-hander Sal Romano (5-6) hurled eight shutout innings, with five hits and six strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches - 11 of which were needed to retire leadoff man Adam Frazier in the first inning - and did not walk a batter.

"[Romano] controlled the strike zone, only threw 23 balls in eight innings," Hurdle said. "I don't think he ever threw three fastballs in a row."

The Pirates had only one batter, Diaz, reach second base prior to the ninth, when Andrew McCutchen smacked his 26th homer this season.

"There's still fight," Hurdle said. "We're just not getting enough things done on offense to put multiple runs in an inning, in a game. …

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