Pirates turn to Cole against Reds

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates have won Gerrit Cole's last four starts and will turn to their ace Wednesday evening in the second matchup of a three-game series versus the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park.

The Pirates are mired in a four-game losing streak and hope Cole can stop the bleeding. He is riding a personal four-game win streak and has a 1.76 earned run average in five starts. Cole previously took the mound in last Wednesday's 8-1 defeat of the Chicago Cubs and gave up an unearned run in six innings.

Cole scattered three hits, struck out a season high-tying eight batters and walked just one. He has lasted at least six innings in each of his past four starts and is 2-0 at home. Cole is 9-0 with a 2.40 ERA with 76 strikeouts in his last 10 starts dating back to Sept. 7, 2014.

The right-handed Cole is winless (0-1) in three starts against the Reds and has a 4.50 ERA in that time. He opened the season at Cincinnati and did not figure into the decision of a 5-4 loss, allowing three runs in five innings with six K's and two walks.

Jeff Locke lasted seven innings in Tuesday's 7-1 loss versus the Reds and was reached for four runs and seven hits.

Starling Marte's solo home run in the second inning provided the scoring for the Pirates, who have dropped six of seven games following a five-game winning streak.

"We missed some pitches that we probably had to hit tonight. We just got to do what men do, you gotta roll your sleeves up and keep working," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Cincinnati has alternated results over the past seven games and improved to 3-2 on a 10-game road trip with Tuesday's easy win.

Young hurler Michael Lorenzen shined through six innings and limited the hosts to a run and three hits, striking out four and walking three for his first Major League win.

"That's what I'm here for. They brought me up here because they thought I could win some ball games," Lorenzen said.

Todd Frazier and Marlon Byrd homered to back Lorenzen. Byrd ended with four RBI and was one of five players with two hits. Frazier, Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips all finished with multiple hits for the Reds, who recorded a 12-3 advantage in hits.

Mike Leake gets the start for Cincinnati Wednesday and is looking to build on his previous appearance, an eight-inning gem at Atlanta last Thursday. Leake did not give up a run and allowed just two hits to improve to 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts.

Leake has pitched at least seven innings in four straight starts and did not record a decision versus Pittsburgh in a 5-4 win on April 8, when he was reached for three runs in 5 2/3 innings. The righty hasn't lost to the Pirates since the 2012 season, going 5-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 14 appearances. He is 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA in his last nine starts in this series.

Cincinnati swept a three-game series versus Pittsburgh to kick off the season from April 6-9 and has won six in a row in this series.