PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates certainly had plenty of opportunities to score runs. They didn't cash in on even one of them.
Mike Leake continued his recent run of strong pitching by working six scoreless innings Saturday night as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pirates 2-0.
Leake (5-2) scattered seven hits as the Pirates stranded six runners during his six innings. He had five strikeouts and one walk. In his last four starts, Leake has gone 3-0 with a 0.27 ERA, allowing only one run in 33 innings.
The Reds shut out Pittsburgh for the second straight night as the Pirates lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 8-9. On Friday, Johnny Cueto pitched eight innings of a one-hitter.
Pittsburgh outhit Cincinnati, 10-8, but left 10 runners on base and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
``We couldn't get (hits) at the right time,' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ``Opportunities were out there but we couldn't get anything going.'
Alex Presley had three hits for the Pirates a day after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, all coming off Leake, making him 9-for-18 against the Reds right-hander. However, Presley was quick to credit Leake.
``He's a tough pitcher,' Presley said. ``We got some hits off of him but give him credit because he had some really good pitches with men on base.'
Francisco Liriano (3-2) struck out 11 in six innings and allowed only one run but lost his second straight decision.
``Wow. He was really good,' Hurdle said. ``He was done physically after six but it was a really good six innings.'
Liriano struck out seven batters in a row between the first and third innings, tying the club record set by Erik Bedard on May 3, 2012 at St. Louis.
``You could tell right from the start he was good and I was going to have to be pretty good, too, if we were going to have a chance to win,' Leake said.
Liriano, pitching against the Reds for the first time in his career, certainly gained the respect of Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker.
``Liriano was unbelievable,' Baker said. ``He was pitching backward, like American League style with breaking balls and changeups early in the count then fastballs later in the count. All I knew about him is he's a kid we tried to trade for when he was with Minnesota and I see why. He was really good.'
Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out Presley swinging on runners on first and second to end it for 14th save in 16 opportunities.
Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips, who entered the day with a National League-leading 44 RBIs, had two hits but left the game in the eighth inning with a bruised left forearm after being hit by a pitch from Tony Watson.
X-rays were negative but Baker said Phillips would definitely miss Sunday's game and perhaps a few more.
Todd Frazier also had two the Reds' 10 hits.
Garrett Jones added two hits for Pittsburgh.
Phillips' infield single drove in Zack Cozart from second base with the game's first run with two outs in the fourth inning. Replays showed that Liriano beat Phillips to the bag while catching the throw from Jones, the first baseman, but first umpire Bob Davidson made a safe call.
Joey Votto added an RBI single for the Reds in the eighth.
NOTES: As part of Negro League heritage weekend at PNC Park, the Pirates wore replica Homestead Grays' uniforms and the Reds wore Cincinnati Tigers' throwbacks. ... Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte, who hit .243 in May after batting .327 in April, was not in the starting lineup and was replaced by OF Alex Presley. ... Rookie OF Derrick Robinson started for Cincinnati in left field for a third consecutive game, again taking the place of OF Xavier Paul. ... Liriano had double digit strikeouts for the 12th time in his eight-year career. ... The three-game series ends Sunday with Reds RHP Mat Latos (5-0, 3.01) facing RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.30).
The Associated Press News Service
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