Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce both hit solo homers and Johnny Cueto tossed eight stellar innings of one-hit ball to help the Cincinnati Reds blank the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-0, Friday in the opener of a three-game set at PNC Park.
Cueto (3-0), who returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since suffering a strained right triceps in a 3-1 loss April 13, struck out six and walked one batter in the impressive victory.
The right-hander also improved to 13-4 in 21 career starts against the Pirates, including a 8-2 mark in 13 games at Pittsburgh.
"He was pretty vintage if there is such a thing," Bruce said of Cueto. "He looked great."
Phillips scored three times while Derrick Robinson drove in two runs for the Reds, who snapped a brief two-game skid.
Pittsburgh, which had a six-game home winning streak come to an end, saw starter Wandy Rodriguez (6-3) allow both solo shots and walk three over seven innings.
The lefty was looking to win a career-high five straight starts, but fell to 0-3 over his last six outings versus Cincinnati.
After both starters escaped the first three frames unharmed, Bruce came through for the visitors in the fourth. Rodriguez served up a 2-0 offering and Bruce crushed it over the right-center wall for a 1-0 Cincinnati lead.
The Reds struck again in similar fashion two innings later. Phillips smacked Rodriguez's inside breaking ball for a line-drive shot just over the left field wall giving Cincinnati a 2-0 advantage.
Cueto, meanwhile, continued to cruise and finished retiring 21 of the last 22 batters he faced. The only hit he allowed came from Brandon Inge in the fifth, a shallow poke to left.
The visitors added two runs in the eighth off Pittsburgh reliever Mike Zagurski and two more runs in the ninth.
"It was a poor effort and needs to get better," Zagurski said. "It was a lack of execution."
Phillips was plunked to open up the eighth, then stole second and advanced to third on Bruce's single. He scored on Zagurski's wild pitch to Todd Frazier and to make matters worse, Frazier drew a walk during the same at-bat, and Bruce crossed the plate on Robinson's RBI single to make it 4-0.
Zagurski walked Robinson with the bases loaded in the final frame to make it 5-0. The next pitcher, Bryan Morris, had the same fate and walked in another run by issuing a free pass to Ryan Hanigan to complete the scoring.
Prior to the game, Pittsburgh recalled outfielder Alex Presley from Triple-A Indianapolis, optioned infielder Josh Harrison to Indianapolis and reinstated fellow infielder Chase d'Arnaud from the disabled list and optioned him to Indianapolis ... It was the 1,000th regular season game in PNC Park history ... The Pirates were looking for their longest home winning streak since winning taking seven straight from April 27-May 12, 2008 ... Pittsburgh finished May with a 19-9 record and was looking for its first 20-win month in 21 years.