The Pittsburgh Pirates started their weekend series in Cincinnati 3.5 games back of the Reds and looking to close some ground. Cincy starter Mat Latos and a 1-2 fireballing punch in the bullpen had other ideas however, shutting down the Bucs offense for a 3-0 Reds win. Latos gave up just four hits in 7.1 innings of scoreless work. A walk to Travis Snider created a minor threat in the first inning, but Latos struck out Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones to strand Snider on third. Latos issued two more walks in the top of the fifth but a Clint Barmes double play quickly ended that rally.
Jonathan Broxton came on in relief of Latos in the eighth and the newly-acquired Red quickly retired the side to hand the ball over to Aroldis Chapman. The Cuban closer was amped up and blew his triple-digit fastball by both Snider and then Jones to end the game.
Pittsburgh starter Wandy Rodriguez was not exactly chopped liver on the mound either, but the Reds had two quick strikes that would be enough for Latos. Chris Helsey motored around the bases in the second inning for an inside-the-park home run to break the scoreless tie. In the bottom of the fifth, it was Latos who helped himself out with a two-run homer over the left-field wall to make it 3-0.
The Bucs will try to get it back on Saturday with James McDonald on the mound. He'll be opposed by Mike Leake.