CINCINNATI — Bronson Arroyo pitched into the eighth inning for his fifth straight win, and Orlando Cabrera drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly and a single Wednesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Arroyo (5-2) allowed five hits — all singles — in 72⁄3 innings. Daniel Ray Herrera pitched out of a bases-loaded threat in the eighth, striking out Garrett Jones on a 66 mph screwball.
Miguel Cairo had a solo homer off Ross Ohlendorf (0-3), who was in trouble most of his six innings. The right-hander gave up eight hits and walked five.
The Reds have won eight of 12, jostling with the St. Louis Cardinals for the top spot in the NL Central. They began the day with identical records.
Pittsburgh has been shut out seven times, most in the NL. Things don't get any easier for the Pirates in the finale of the four-game series — they face Johnny Cueto, who threw a one-hitter for a 9-0 win in Pittsburgh on May 11.
The Pirates have scored the second-fewest runs in the NL. They got only one runner to third base against Arroyo, who tends to be streaky. He's on quite a tear now. The right-hander is 5-0 in his last six starts, allowing only 13 earned runs.
Arroyo faced the minimum 12 batters over the first four innings. Jones led off the fifth with a single to right for Pittsburgh's first hit.
Second baseman Brandon Phillips made two impressive plays behind Arroyo, ranging far to snag a grounder and start a difficult double play in the sixth, then leaping well off the ground to snag Lastings Milledge's liner in the seventh.
Arroyo's bunt single helped the Reds load the bases with one out in the second. Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly, but the Pirates nailed catcher Ryan Hanigan at the plate when he tried to score from second base on Cairo's single.
Cairo hit his first homer in the fifth inning. He had only one homer last season, on Oct. 4 with Philadelphia. Cairo has four homers in the last six seasons while playing for the Mets, Yankees, Cardinals, Mariners, Phillies and Reds.
He was in the starting lineup at first base because Joey Votto had a stiff neck. Cairo hits so few homers that he wasn't sure this one was gone — he was running all-out as he rounded first base.