CINCINNATI — When it was over, left-hander Phil Dumatrait fessed up. Yes, he really wanted this one.
He wanted to show the Cincinnati Reds how far he'd come since they cast him aside as a struggling rookie. The proof was in the pitching line: seven innings, two infield hits.
Jason Bay and Xavier Nady homered in support of Dumatrait's statement-making start Thursday night, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-2 victory that ended Cincinnati's home winning streak at nine games.
The Pirates salvaged the finale of a three-game series by taking it more than one base at a time. They piled up six doubles and the two homers off a pitching staff that's still out of kilter from a marathon game.
The Reds couldn't extend their best home winning streak in 28 years because they couldn't do anything against Dumatrait (2-2). The left-hander had the best start of his career, beating the team that let him get away last October.
He was 0-4 in six starts for Cincinnati last season with a 15.00 ERA, prompting the Reds to put him on waivers. The Pirates claimed him, and he's gone 2-1 in six starts.
On Thursday, the Reds saw an entirely different pitcher.
”The scouting report said fair stuff, but wild,“ Reds Manager Dusty Baker said. ”I didn't see wild, and I saw great stuff. Sometimes, that happens against your former team. I wish it didn't.“
The Reds' pitching staff was in disarray following an 18-inning loss in San Diego on Sunday. Starters Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez wound up pitching in relief, throwing everybody's routine off.
Harang (2-7) wasn't very sharp on three days of rest.
”I felt like I didn't have it from the get-go,“ Harang said. ”I knew it was going to be a long day today.“
Harang lasted only four innings and gave up a season-high six runs. He also matched his season high by allowing 10 hits, another indication that his relief appearance in San Diego sapped him.
”I think it affected him quite a bit,“ Baker said. ”I think it caught up with him. He took one for the team on Sunday.“
Belisle sent to Louisville; Fogg will start
Right-hander Matt Belisle is headed back to the minors and back to the bullpen.
The Reds sent Belisle to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday to pitch in relief, a role he had two years ago. Right-hander Josh Fogg moves back into the rotation and will start Saturday against Atlanta.
The Reds also activated left-hander Kent Mercker off the 15-day disabled list. The 40-year-old reliever had been sidelined since May 9 with a sore back.
Belisle was in the competition for the final spot in the rotation during spring training, until a sore forearm sidelined him the final week. He came off the disabled list on April 21 and went 1-4 with a 7.28 earned run average in six starts.
Fogg piled up a 13.09 ERA in his three starts.