Pirates send McDonald to hill in finale with Reds

James McDonald was awesome in his last start against the hander hopes to duplicate his effort from July 19 game series.

McDonald is coming off a victory against the Cardinals on Monday when he yielded six hits and a pair of runs over 5 2/3 innings.

He beat the Reds just over a month ago at PNC Park when he gave up four hits in 6 1/3 shutout innings. McDonald is 3-1 in six games (3 starts) all-time against Cincinnati.

Reds starter Mike Leake faced McDonald on July 19 and came out on the losing end despite surrendering just two hits and a run over six frames of the 1-0 final. The 23-year-old right-hander leads the Cincinnati staff with 10 wins, but has dropped four of his last six decisions, including a 6-4 defeat at Washington on Tuesday. He was charged with five runs that night.

Leake is 1-2 with a 2.01 ERA in five games against the Pirates.

Yesterday, Neil Walker went 3-for-4 and knocked in a pair, including the go- ahead run in the seventh inning in a 5-3 Pittsburgh win.

Tony Watson (1-2) entered a tie game in the top of the seventh and stranded Ramon Hernandez at second to record his first major league win.

Joel Hanrahan, who allowed three ninth-inning runs in Friday's 11-8 series- opening loss, recorded the game's final three outs to earn his 31st save of the season.

Hernandez had tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI double, but Aroldis Chapman (2-1) surrendered two runs a half-inning later to suffer the loss.

Chapman came out for the bottom of the seventh and allowed a one-out single to McCutchen before walking Ryan Ludwick. Walker then pushed home the go-ahead run with a single to right and Brandon Wood made it a 5-3 game with a double.

Jose Veras kept the Reds off the board in the eighth before Hanrahan tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to hand Cincinnati its fourth loss in six games.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton lasted six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits.

"It wasn't a comfortable day for him all day," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Morton. "He was out there grinding and I just think the intensity of pitch, after pitch, after pitch, just kind of wore him down early."

Reds starter Dontrelle Willis, who has yet to earn a win in eight starts this season, allowed three runs on eight hits over six frames.

"There's some guys that played baseball last year that don't have a job now, that had great years," said Willis. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity and everything else is icing on the cake."

The Pirates own a sizeable 8-3 advantage in the season series between these clubs.