PITTSBURGH - Mike Leake continued his recent run of strong pitching by working six scoreless innings Saturday night as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-0, in a battle of two of the top three teams in the National League Central.
Leake (5-2) scattered seven hits as the Pirates stranded seven runners during his six innings. He had five strikeouts and one walk. In his last four starts, Leake has gone 3-0 with a 0.27 ERA, allowing only one run in 33 innings.
The Reds shut out Pittsburgh for the second straight night as the Pirates lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 8-9. On Friday, Johnny Cueto pitched eight innings of a one-hitter.
Francisco Liriano (3-2) struck out 11 in six innings and allowed only one run but lost his second straight decision.
Liriano also struck out seven batters in a row between the first and third innings, tying the club record set by Erik Bedard on May 3, 2012 at St. Louis.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out Alex Presley swinging with runners on first and second to end it for 14th save in 16 opportunities.
Today: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:35 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Reds RHP?Mat Latos (5-0) vs. Pirates RHP?Jeanmar Gomez (2-0)
Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips, who entered the day with a National League-leading 44 RBIs, had two hits but left the game in the eighth inning with a bruised left forearm after being hit by a pitch from Tony Watson. X-rays were negative.
Todd Frazier also had two the Reds' 10 hits.
Alex Presley had three hits for the Pirates a day after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. Garrett Jones added two hits.
Pittsburgh outhit Cincinnati, 10-8, but left 10 runners on base and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Phillips' infield single drove in Zack Cozart from second base with the game's first run with two outs in the fourth inning. Replays showed that Liriano beat Phillips to the bag while catching the throw from Jones, the first baseman, but first umpire Bob Davidson made a safe call.
Joey Votto added an RBI single for the Reds in the eighth.
Game notes: As part of Negro League heritage weekend at PNC Park, the Pirates wore replica Homestead Grays' uniforms and the Reds wore Cincinnati Tigers' throwbacks. ... Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte, who hit .243 in May after batting .327 in April, was not in the starting lineup and was replaced by OF Alex Presley. ... Rookie OF Derrick Robinson started for Cincinnati in left field for a third consecutive game, again taking the place of OF Xavier Paul. ... Liriano had double digit strikeouts for the 12th time in his eight-year career. ... The three-game series ends today with Reds RHP Mat Latos (5-0, 3.01) facing RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.30).