Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning and drove in three runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on Friday night.
McCutchen’s leadoff shot to left field off J.J. Hoover (0-3), his second homer of the season, snapped a 5-all tie.
Cincinnati had just tied the score in the top of the seventh on Brandon Phillips’ second home run of the game, a two-run drive to center off Tony Watson (1-0).
The first four batters in Pittsburgh’s lineup — Starling Marte, Neil Walker, McCutchen and Garrett Jones — had two hits each as the Pirates totaled 12. They entered the game with a .153 batting average, worst in the major leagues, and had scored only 21 runs in their first nine games.
Walker and McCutchen hit consecutive two-run singles in the second to give Pittsburgh a 5-1 lead.
Marte extended his streak of multihit games to six. He is 12 for 24 during that stretch. The leadoff batter also has had a hit in the first inning in each of those six games.
The Pirates had not scored more than four runs in any of their previous 13 games against the NL Central rival Reds. Pittsburgh has won three of four overall after starting the season 1-5.
Phillips hit a leadoff homer in the second inning off Pirates starter A.J. Burnett. The cleanup-hitting second baseman has four home runs this season and 10 career two-homer games.
However, Phillips struck out to end the game with runners on first and second as Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save in as many opportunities.
Burnett went six innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out eight and walked three.
Cincinnati starter Mike Leake is now winless in eight career starts at PNC Park, more than any visiting pitcher in the history of the 12-year-old ballpark. He gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin, who entered with a .043 batting average, singled home a run in the first inning to open the scoring.
After Walker and McCutchen gave the Pirates a four-run lead in the second, Cincinnati cut the deficit to 5-3 as Devin Mesoraco drove in a run with a groundout in the fourth and then hit an RBI double in the sixth.
NOTES: Pittsburgh designated RHP Chris Leroux for assignment and recalled RHP Bryan Morris from Triple-A Indianapolis. Morris arrived in time for the game but did not pitch. . Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker decided to give C Ryan Hanigan and 3B Todd Frazier the night off. Hanigan is hitting .043 with one hit in 23 at-bats and Frazier is hitless in his last 11 at-bats. . Burnett is two strikeouts shy of 2,000 for his career.
. RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 2.77 ERA) starts Saturday night for the Reds against Pirates LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 6.00). Cueto has a 12-4 lifetime record against Pittsburgh.