Cincinnati Reds

Pittsburgh rights itself in Cincinnati

Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips was tagged out by Pirates second baseman Neil Walker while trying to stretch a single into a double. Left fielder Xavier Paul made the throw in the seventh inning.
Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips was tagged out by Pirates second baseman Neil Walker while trying to stretch a single into a double. Left fielder Xavier Paul made the throw in the seventh inning. ASSOCIATED PRESS

CINCINNATI — Two nearly flawless starts dug the Pirates out of their deepest slump.

James McDonald pitched into the seventh inning Thursday and Neil Walker doubled home a pair of runs, leading Pittsburgh to a 5-3 victory and a two-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.

The Pirates arrived in town with a six-game losing streak and came away with their first series sweep in Cincinnati since 2003. They did it with pitching — Charlie Morton threw a five-hitter for a 5-0 win in the opener. McDonald (3-3) allowed one run and seven hits in 62⁄3 innings, handling one of the NL's most prolific lineups in one of its most hitter-friendly ballparks.

"This is a good hitting team with a lot of great hitters in their lineup," McDonald said. "For us to come in here and hold them to that many runs is a big accomplishment."

The Pirates finally broke through against Johnny Cueto (2-1), who had won his past seven decisions against them. Ryan Doumit added a solo homer.

The sweep left Pittsburgh 13-12 on the road, a vast improvement over last year's 17-64 mark away from home. The Pirates didn't get their 13th road win last season until July 28.

Pittsburgh has given the defending NL Central champions a tough time so far this season, winning five of their six games. Last year, the Reds took the season series 10-6.

■ Jay Bruce hit two homers, his 11th multihomer game. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 10 games... C Ramon Hernandez had his hit streak snapped at 11 games, longest by a Reds player this season.

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