CINCINNATI (AP) — Tyler Mahle struck out 10, Kyle Farmer delivered another key hit and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Sunday for a four-game sweep.
Nick Castellanos added a double and scored as playoff-chasing Cincinnati continued its dominance of the Pirates, improving to 9-1 against them this season. Dating to last season, the Reds have won 13 of 14 games from Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati is a season-high 10 games over the .500 mark.
Mahle (9-3) allowed six hits without walk in seven innings. He pitched seven innings for just the third time this season.
“I didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Mahle said. “I didn’t walk guys. Getting to the seventh is good for the team. The bullpen had two good innings. We were pounding the zone and got soft contact”
Mahle, who going into the game had a 2.06 ERA on the road but 6.18 at home, fanned six through the first three innings, allowing only a soft single by Ke’Bryan Hayes. He retired nine straight before Bryan Reynolds doubled and scored on Anthony Alford’s single in the fourth.
“Tyler has had games where he got better as the game went on and this was one of them,” Reds manager David Bell said. “The way he competes is what sets him apart.”
The Reds handed Mahle the lead when Farmer, who since the All-Star break leads the major leagues in hitting, had an RBI double off Bryse Wilson (2-5) to cap a three-run fourth.
“(Wilson) missed on an 0-2 changeup to (Joey) Votto and a 1-2 fastball to Farmer,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I thought he pitched pretty well. He missed on a couple ahead in the count.”
Hayes led off the sixth with his fifth home run of the season to make it a one-run game.
Mychal Givens earned his second save of the season in the first real nail-biter in this series.
“It was a bit different game than we’ve been playing,” Bell said. “We’ve been scoring a lot of runs lately.”
Castellanos doubled and scored in the fourth. The All-Star outfielder is 3 for 16 with a homer, double, and two RBIs since coming off the injured list Thursday following a fractured right wrist.
“We’re getting guys healthy and we’re meeting expectations,” Votto said. “We have teams ahead of us so we need stretches like this to have a chance. We are becoming a long, dangerous lineup.”
Prior to Sunday’s game, the Reds honored Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, who passed away in October at the age of 77. Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench and Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin were on hand for the ceremonies for the former Reds star. A floral arrangement was placed at Morgan’s statue outside Great American Ball Park. His uniform No. 8 was stamped in the infield dirt behind second base.
HOUSE OF HORRORS
The Reds improved to 7-0 against the Pirates this season in Great American Ball Park and dating to last season, they have beaten their division rivals 12 straight times at home. “They have had our number in this ballpark,” Shelton said. “I wish I had an answer for that. I don’t.”
BEEN A WHILE
Hayes had gone 100 at-bats without a home run prior to Sunday. Hayes’ previous homer came on July 5 off Atlanta’s Josh Tomlin. “His swings were considerably better in this series,” Shelton said. “If there was a bright spot for us in this series, it was him.” Hayes went 6 for 15 in the series with a homer, double and two RBIs.
Reds: RHP Lucas Sims was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. He’d been on the IL since June 24 with a right elbow sprain. Right-hander Brad Brach was placed on the 10-day IL with a right shoulder impingement.
Pirates: LHP Steven Brault will make his second start of the season on Tuesday when the Pirates begin a three-game series with the Cardinals at PNC Park.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo will take the mound Monday at Cleveland. He is 0-2 lifetime with a 4.80 ERA against the Indians.
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