Pittsburgh, PA – Neil Walker hit a two-run home run and Alex Presley added a solo shot as the Pittsburgh Pirates topped the Cincinnati Reds, 3-2, in the middle test of a three-game set at PNC Park.
James McDonald (2-1) allowed one run on six hits and two walks while striking out seven through 6 1/3 innings to earn the win.
"Another strong outing from James. First pitch strikes...only three three-ball counts," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
Joel Hanrahan tossed a perfect ninth to record his fifth save of the season as Pittsburgh won for the second time in three games.
Mike Leake (0-4) gave up three runs on four hits and four walks in seven full frames for the Reds, who had their two-game win streak snapped.
"I think he just made two bad pitches...he pitched good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Pittsburgh struck first in the third inning when Walker followed Jose Tabata's two-out double by pulling a ball into the right-field bleachers to hand the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Cincinnati had a chance to answer in the fourth when Joey Votto led off the frame with a ground-rule double and moved to third on Brandon Phillips' ground out.
But Jay Bruce followed with a grounder to first that Casey McGehee grabbed and stepped on the bag for the force before throwing home, where catcher Rod Barajas blocked the plate with his foot and tagged out a sliding Votto for the inning-ending double play.
The Reds were able to break through in the seventh inning when Bruce smacked a one-out triple before coming home on Scott Rolen's base hit to left, knocking McDonald out of the game.
The Pirates, though, got that run back in the bottom of the frame with Presley's solo shot over the right-center field wall to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 advantage.
Zack Cozart's RBI double off of Jason Grilli in the eighth brought Cincinnati back within one, but Cozart was stranded there after a pair of strikeouts by Drew Stubbs and Phillips around an intentional walk to Votto.
Pittsburgh failed to bring in a run in the bottom of the eighth despite loading the bases, but the insurance runs would not be necessary as Hanrahan got Bruce to line out to center field before a pair of infield pop ups by Rolen and Ryan Ludwick ended the game.
McDonald improved to 4-1 in nine career games -- six starts -- against the Reds...Cincinnati went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base, while the Pirates went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.