PITTSBURGH (AP) — Vince Velasquez struck out 10 in seven innings, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Hunter Greene and the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 on Sunday for their seventh consecutive victory.
It was the most strikeouts for Velasquez (3-2) since May 10, 2018, when he had 12 for the Phillies against the Giants. He allowed two hits and walked two.
The Pirates improved to 16-7 for the franchise’s best start since its last division title in 1992. They allowed six runs in the four-game series against Cincinnati after outscoring the Rockies 33-9 across a three-game sweep in Colorado.
It is Pittsburgh’s longest streak since winning 11 straight in 2018.
David Bednar struck out two in the ninth for his eighth save, finishing a four-hitter.
The Pirates jumped in front in the first against Greene (0-1). Ke’Bryan Hayes led off with a double to the gap in right-center. He moved to third on Tucupita Marcano’s single and scampered home when Andrew McCutchen grounded into a double play.
Greene allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two in his best start of the season, but Cincinnati dropped its sixth straight game. The Reds have scored six runs during the slide.
Pittsburgh grabbed a 2-0 lead when Carlos Santana scored from second on Jack Suwinski’s two-out single against Fernando Cruz in the eighth.
Velasquez got himself into trouble with one out in the third, walking Jose Barrero and Luke Maile. The right-hander then got Jonathan India to fly to right and TJ Friedl to ground to third.
Since being tagged for eight runs in 7 1/3 innings across his first two starts, Velasquez has surrendered three in his past 19 innings.
WHAT A START
Pirates starters have gone at least six innings without allowing more than three earned runs in 12 of the past 13 games. The only exception came Saturday, when Rich Hill gave up one run but lasted just five innings in a 2-1 win.
Pirates: OF Bryan Reynolds was placed on the bereavement list. … INF Drew Maggi was selected from Double-A Altoona. 1B Ji Man Choi (left Achilles strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.
Reds: LHP Nick Lodolo (2-1, 4.98 ERA) will start Monday for the first of a three-game home series against the Texas Rangers.
Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (2-1, 2.22 ERA) will take the mound Tuesday to begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.