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Lodolo cruises through seven innings, Espinal homers as Reds edge Pirates

Nick Lodolo Cincinnati Reds Nick Lodolo - The Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Nick Lodolo allowed one run in seven innings to win a fifth straight start, Santiago Espinal hit a two-run homer and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Lodolo (8-2) struck out eight without issuing a walk and gave up four hits. The left-hander has been tagged for seven runs in 30 1/3 innings in five starts since May 27.

“I thought, overall, I just felt in control,” Lodolo said. "I just want to go out there and give us a good chance to win. ... The goal is for me to go out there and get myself in position to win. So, tonight was definitely a good one.

“I'm really just five days at a time. I feel like you start looking ahead, you never know. I just have to stay present and do it again in five days.”

Espinal put the Reds ahead in the fifth inning, driving a fastball from Bailey Falter just over a leaping Bryan Reynolds at the wall and 376 feet into the left field bleachers.

Alexis Díaz struck out one in a perfect ninth inning for his 16th save.

Falter (3-5) surrendered two runs on seven hits, going seven innings with three strikeouts and two walks.

“Felt good to go out there and provide for the team, especially after my last two starts,” said Falter, who had allowed eight runs in eight combined innings his previous two outings. “Those guys having been working for me for a really long time.”

Lodolo retired 11 in a row until Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a solo home run with one out in the seventh inning, sending a 2-2 curveball 382 feet to left.

“They made him work for it, for sure, in that seventh,” Reds manager David Bell said. “A pretty hot night. If it wasn't for that inning, maybe it's one of those nights he can go even deeper than that. But getting us through seven on a day like that, all right-handed lineup, good hitters, that's about as good as it gets.”

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-out single ahead of a double down the left-field line from Reynolds in the third. Lodolo struck out Connor Joe to strand them in scoring position and keep Pittsburgh from taking an early lead.

“He sure has been good,” Bell said of Lodolo. “Tonight, in command all night. Threw pitches for strikes. Can get outs with all three of those pitches. That's pretty tough. He's just finding ways to get better. He had it all working tonight, though.”

Reynolds was 2 for 4, extending his hit streak to 16 games with a swinging bunt in the first. He came close to tying the score in the eighth, sending a sharp line drive off Fernando Cruz to center with one out and McCutchen on first.

Stuart Fairchild tracked it for an overhead catch just shy of the wall and McCutchen, running past second base, was thrown out at first for an inning-ending double play.


RHP Hunter Greene (5-2, 3.61 ERA) will look to win sixth straight decision for the Reds when he takes the mound Wednesday to close the series opposite Pirates RHP Mitch Keller (8-4, 3.36). Greene is 5-0 in nine starts since allowing four runs in a 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on April 22; Keller is 6-1 dating to May 6, but gave up four runs in a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals his last time out on June 13.