PITTSBURGH (AP) - Dontrelle Willis is healthy and satisfied with the way he's pitching, even if he isn't earning any wins.
Willis remained winless in eight starts this season, allowing three runs on eight hits in six innings, and the Cincinnati Reds lost 5-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Willis remained 0-3 since his promotion from Triple-A Louisville July 10, but he holds a respectable 4.14 ERA and had allowed more than three runs in an outing only once.
``A lot of things dictate wins and losses,' Willis said. ``I like the way I'm throwing the ball. I like the way I'm competing and I like the way the guys are competing for me. It's just a matter of pitch there or one thing there that seems to make the difference in every game.'
Charlie Morton didn't have his best stuff, but he continued his mastery of Cincinnati with six effective innings. Morton's ERA is at 0.93 ERA in 29 innings against the Reds this season.
Neil Walker had two RBI singles, the second driving in Andrew McCutchen with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, and McCutchen and Ryan Ludwick each had two hits for the Pirates, who have won three of five.
Willis left his previous start on Sunday in the third inning due to soreness in his left forearm. An MRI the next day did not reveal any issues, clearing Willis to start on Saturday.
``We were trying to get him that first victory, big-time,' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ``We stuck with him a long time.'
Walker's hit off Aroldis Chapman (2-1) was his third hit of the game, and Brandon Wood followed with an RBI double, allowing Pittsburgh to improve to 8-3 against the Reds this season.
``They kind of bled Chapman there,' Baker said of the Pirates. ``They got a couple of soft hits, especially the little blooper to right (by Walker).'
Joey Votto twice drove in Brandon Phillips with RBI singles for the Reds, who have lost four of six. Phillips reached base four times.
Recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, rookie Tony Watson (1-2) won his first major league game by getting the final two outs of the top of the seventh after the Reds had tied it at 3 against Chris Resop.
``He gave us what we needed in a tight spot, definitely,' Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said of Watson, who woke up at 6 this morning and drove five hours to Pittsburgh.
``A day I'll never forget,' Watson said.
Pittsburgh's Jose Veras pitched a scoreless eighth - striking out Drew Stubbs and Dave Sappelt after allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach. A day after allowing a season-high three runs in taking the loss, Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect the ninth for his 31st save but first since July 28.
Morton had a scoreless innings streak of 24 snapped in the final inning of his most recent outing on Sunday when Hanrahan allowed an inherited runner to score.
Morton allowed a run for the second consecutive inning when Phillips led off Saturday's game with a single, moved to second on a groundout and came home when Votto singled to right.
But Morton faced only one over the minimum over the next 4 2-3 innings before Phillips and Votto each singled again to produce a run in the sixth. Morton was charged with two runs on seven hits, a walk and two strikeouts. He has allowed three runs in four starts versus the Reds this season.
``Successes breeds confidence,' Hurdle said. ``He went out there against that team today with far from his best stuff, but delivered a very gutsy performance, a very gritty performance and held them to two runs in six innings.
``He seems to enjoy the challenge of facing that offense,' Hurdle said. ``It's a very good offense.'
RBI singles by Ronny Cedeno in the fourth and Ryan Ludwick and Walker - consecutively in the fifth - gave Pittsburgh the lead, and Morton was in line to improve to 4-0 against Cincinnati this season after he was lifted following six innings.
But the Reds quickly tied the game against Resop when Ramon Hernandez doubled in Stubbs.
NOTES: Willis went 0 for 2, snapping his six-game hitting streak. He had a hit in every game in which he had an at-bat this season. ... Not counting the 2006 All-Star game, the game was the first televised by Fox at PNC Park since 2004. ... The crowd of 37,826 was Pittsburgh's 16th sellout of the season, most since 2001. It was the eighth consecutive Saturday sellout there. ... Reds Sunday starter Mike Leake has allowed only seven earned runs in five career starts against Pittsburgh. No current Pirates players have homered off of him. ... The previous time Pirates RHP James McDonald faced Cincinnati on July 19, he pitched into the seventh and was part of a combined shutout. McDonald starts Sunday. ... Hurdle said RHP Brad Lincoln would start the second game of a doublehader on Monday vs. Milwaukee. He also indicated that RHP Ross Ohlendorf would be recalled to start Tuesday's game.
The Associated Press News Service
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