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Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle insists he hasn’t been keeping close tabs of his team’s slide following a hot start. He wasn’t aware the Pirates had dropped eight straight series until someone mentioned it to him earlier in the week.
”If somebody would have told me you’re going to lose eight series Reggie Wayne Jersey , you’d think you’re going to be horrible,” Hurdle said. ”We’re not horrible. We’re fighting. And we believe that our best baseball is in front of us.”
It is, at least when the Pirates play the struggling Cincinnati Reds. Josh Harrison hit a two-run homer, Colin Moran and Elias Diaz added solo shots and the Pirates pulled away for a 6-2 victory on Saturday to push their modest winning streak to three and assuring themselves of their first positive series since taking a two-game set from the Chicago White Sox a month ago.
”We know what’s happened here the past couple weeks,” Harrison said. ”Guys are still plugging away and coming ready to show up every day and we’ve had three in a row. We know that doesn’t speak for what’s happened or what will happen. We’ve just got to continue to keep bringing it every day.”
Moran and Diaz both went deep off Luis Castillo (4-8) to give Pittsburgh the lead. Harrison hit his fourth of the season off reliever Austin Brice in the sixth. The Cincinnati native finished 2 for 4 is hitting .368 (14 for 38) against the Reds.
”Any time you can have a total offensive effort like that, it shows that we’re doing what we’re supposed to, taking advantage of mistake pitches and when presented with an opportunity to move a runner, get it done,” Harrison said.
Ivan Nova (4-5) worked through heavy traffic on a day his breaking ball abandoned him to last six innings and pick up his second victory in as many starts since returning from the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right ring finger. Nova allowed only Eugenio Suarez’s 13th home run in the second, striking out three while giving up three walks.
”I didn’t have the curveball today, but we grinded out there,” Nova said.
Castillo struggled keeping the ball on the right side of the fence at PNC Park Brayden Schenn Jersey , a problem that’s plagued the 25-year-old all season. He’s now allowed at least one home run in 15 of his 18 starts.
”It’s surprising because I’m trying to do my best and every time I get out there, I give up one or two home runs,” Castillo said after dropping his fourth straight decision. ”I really don’t know what’s happening right now. I’m just going to keep working in the bullpen and keep doing my best trying to help.”
Rookie Brandon Dixon hit his first major league home run off Pittsburgh reliever Michael Feliz in the ninth and Jesse Winker had two of Cincinnati’s seven hits to snap out of an 0-for-13 skid, but the Reds had issues taking advantage against Nova.
Cincinnati went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and is now 0 for 19 with runners in scoring position in the series.
”We’ve just got to get it going,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. ”You go through these things. We’ve got a good offensive ball club. We’ve shown it many times. We’re just in a little funk here where we’re not getting some timely hits.”
Moran broke a tie with his fourth home run of the season and first since June 2 when he sent Castillo’s pitch into the bullpen beyond the centerfield fence leading off the second. Diaz made it 3-1 when his fifth home run led off the third.
The Reds had their opportunities against Nova. They loaded the bases in the fourth only to have Billy Hamilton ground out to first to end the threat. Scott Schebler led off the fifth with a double but couldn’t get home and Hamilton came to the plate in the sixth with two runners on only to fly out to left field.
Hamilton finished 0 for 4 as his averaged dipped to .187.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Pirates: Reliever Richard Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) threw 20 pitches in a simulated game and is nearing a return from the 10-day disabled list. Rodriguez, who is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, said ”things feel really good right now.”
UP NEXT
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.40 ERA) starts the series finale on Sunday. The 28-year-old picked up his first victory since 2016 in his previous start against St. Louis.
Pirates: Joe Musgrove (2-1, 2.16) makes his first career start against the Reds. Musgrove gave up two earned runs in five innings of a no decision on Monday against Arizona.


NEW YORK — New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway has been using some variation of the term “sync up” so often lately, he sounds like an early 1990s music critic discussing Milli Vanilli. At least on Monday the Mets will face another out-of-sorts team whose fortunes are sinking faster than those of an exposed one-album wonder.
Two squads enduring a miserable June will meet when the Mets host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field. Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.85 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for New York against Jameson Taillon (4-6, 4.03 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.
Both teams suffered the final loss of a three-game sweep Sunday Andrew Luck Jersey , when the Mets gave up seven solo homers in falling to the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-7, in 11 innings and the host Pirates dropped a 3-0 decision to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The losses ensured the Mets (31-44) and Pirates (36-41) will enter Monday with the worst June records in the National League. New York is 4-17 since the calendar flipped while Pittsburgh is 7-14.
The nosedives have all but ended once-robust playoff hopes. The Mets, who opened the season 11-1, are 12 1/2 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East and 10 1/2 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the race for the second wild card.
The Mets opened June in a historic offensive slump in which they scored just 20 runs in 12 games from June 1-15. New York has scored 47 runs in its last eight games but has lost three games in which it scored at least seven runs.
“We just can’t sync up exactly what we’re trying to do every day,” Callaway said Sunday. He also used the sync up expression following Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
“If we swing the bats, we give up seven homers,” Callaway said Sunday. “If we pitch and swing the bats good, our defense isn’t quite there. It’s kind of been the whole season — we’re not syncing up all the components that we need to sync up to win some ballgames. We did that early in the season.”
The Pirates are uttering the same laments. Through 43 games, Pittsburgh led the NL Central with a 26-17 record and ranked fifth in the majors in runs scored (216).
Since then, though, the Pirates have gone an NL-worst 10-24 while scoring just 123 runs Youth Justin Reid Jersey , the fewest in the NL and the fourth-fewest in the majors.
“At the beginning of the season, pitching was clicking, hitting was clicking,” Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams told reporters after he took the loss Sunday, when he allowed three runs over six innings. “We’re starting to get apart from each other and we’re hitting a skid at the same time.”
Lugo will be looking to snap a two-start slump Monday. He didn’t factor into the decision last Wednesday, when he gave up six runs (three earned) over three innings as the Mets fell to the Rockies, 10-8.
Lugo has given up 11 runs (eight earned) over eight innings in his last two starts after tossing 13 straight scoreless innings in three games (two starts) from May 31-June 10.
Taillon took the loss last Tuesday, when he allowed three runs over five innings as the Pirates fell to the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-2. He has alternated wins with losses in four June starts.
Lugo has never faced the Pirates. Taillon is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two career starts against the Mets. He made both starts consecutively to open his big league career in 2016 and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the second start on June 14.