Cincinnati Reds

Shutout a mix of young and old

Travis Wood lowered his ERA from 2.87 to 2.42 with seven scoreless innings Monday night. The Reds rookie gave up two singles and didn't allow a runner beyond second base.
Travis Wood lowered his ERA from 2.87 to 2.42 with seven scoreless innings Monday night. The Reds rookie gave up two singles and didn't allow a runner beyond second base. AP

PITTSBURGH — The atmosphere wasn't the same, the lineup wasn't the same. Not that it mattered to rookie Travis Wood and the Reds, who don't care about anything other than winning games.

Wood shut out the Pirates on two singles over seven innings, fill-in first baseman Miguel Cairo drove in two runs and Cincinnati moved into first place, beating Pittsburgh 4-0 on Monday night.

The Reds lead St. Louis by a half-game in the NL Central. The Cardinals lost 9-4 to Houston on Monday night.

Russ Springer, the 41-year-old right-hander brought up from the minors earlier in the day, and Arthur Rhodes, the 40-year-old first-time All-Star, pitched an inning each to complete the combined three-hitter with the 23-year-old Wood.

The Reds won their fourth in five games with their seventh shutout of the season.

This was one of those examples of a starting pitcher feeling great warming up in the bullpen, then carrying it into the game.

"All my pitches were working well," Wood said. "I was able to get some quick outs and things went my way. I tried to work quick with the fastball and let my pitches work off it, and I was able to throw strikes to both sides of the plate."

Chris Heisey finished off the Reds' seventh victory in their last eight against Pittsburgh with an inside-the-park home run in the eighth inning.

Heisey's line drive over the head of shortstop Ronny Cedeno and into the left-center gap was misplayed by center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who wasn't given an error despite permitting the ball to roll to the wall.

Heisey didn't realize until he was nearing third that he might be sent home.

"It's the equivalent of running from the back of the end zone to the back of the other end zone in football and I know those guys look gassed when they have a 100-yard punt return," Heisey said. "Now I know why — it's a long run to be going full speed the whole time."

The Pirates, on pace for their record-extending 18th consecutive losing season and their first 100-loss season since 2001, have been outscored 34-5 while losing their last five. They have scored two runs in their last four, with the Cardinals outscoring them 21-2 during a three-game weekend sweep.

Three losses were in games started by some of the NL's top pitchers — Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter — but the left-handed Wood (2-1) had made only six previous career starts, winning once. His first career victory was a 10-2 decision over Milwaukee on Wednesday, when he lasted five innings.

Wood was in control from the start before a smallish crowd of 15,172 in PNC Park, never allowing a runner past second base while giving up singles by Neil Walker in the first and Lastings Milledge in the fifth. He struck out four and walked one, lowering his ERA to 2.42.

The Reds were coming off a weekend series in which they sold out three times at home against Atlanta.

Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf (1-9) withstood being struck by a line drive in the first inning for the second straight game, but walked four and hit a batter over five innings. Walks to Brandon Phillips and Orlando Cabrera set up Cairo's run-scoring single in the first.

Cairo, filling in for NL RBI leader Joey Votto, who sat out with a sprained right wrist, also had a sacrifice fly in the fourth after Phillips singled and stole second.

Ohlendorf took a liner off the side of his right knee by Jonny Gomes, but the ball ricocheted to first baseman Garrett Jones for the out.