Pirates sweep Reds
PITTSBURGH — Paul Maholm pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning, Jason Jaramillo had a three-run double and the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a three-game sweep by beating the slumping Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Sunday.
Jay Bruce hit his first two homers of the season, solo shots in the fifth off Maholm and the ninth off Octavio Dotel, but the Reds lost their fifth in a row. They won 13 of 18 from the Pirates last season, only to be swept for the first time since April 11-13, 2008, in Pittsburgh.
While losing 99 games last season, the Pirates swept only three series lasting at least three games.
Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo (0-1) ran into problems in the fourth inning for the second straight start, and lost to the Pirates for the first time in his last six starts against them. He was perfect over the first three innings, only to allow six of Pittsburgh’s first seven batters to reach during a five-run inning that put Pittsburgh up 5-0.
Delwyn Young, Lastings Milledge and Ryan Church singled around Garrett Jones’ walk, and Bobby Crosby was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Jaramillo, the backup catcher, followed by driving in his first three runs of the season with a double to left.
On Tuesday, four of the five runs Arroyo allowed against Florida came in the fourth. The Reds came back to win that game 10-8 but haven’t won since, scoring only 15 runs during the five consecutive losses. Arroyo gave up one run in 15 innings while beating the Pirates twice last season and had an 0.86 ERA in his last three starts against them.
With Maholm (1-1) pitching effectively for his first victory, the Pirates followed up a pair of final at-bat victories Friday and Saturday. The left-hander struck out five and walked one after permitting seven runs in 11-plus innings in starts against the Dodgers and Giants.
Maholm is 4-1 in his last seven starts against the Reds in Pittsburgh.
Dotel got his third save in four opportunities despite allowing Bruce’s second homer. Brendan Donnelly pitched a scoreless eighth and Joel Hanrahan got the final out in the seventh.
The game started three minutes past the scheduled 1:35 p.m. EDT start because crew chief Joe West’s crew was late arriving on the field. West recently complained about the slow pace of games involving the Red Sox and Yankees.
NOTES: Pirates 3B Andy LaRoche (back) hasn’t played since the second inning Friday. … Reds 3B Scott Rolen tested his sore back during batting practice, but remained out of the lineup. … Jones hasn’t homered since hitting three in his first five at-bats. … Despite being outscored 75-53, the Pirates are 7-5. Last season, they started 11-9 but weren’t two games over .500 again. … The Pirates are 5-1 at home. They have had only one winning record at home (43-38, 2006) since PNC Park opened in 2001. Pittsburgh won its first two series at home for the first time since 1992.