Johnny Cueto pitched a gem of a game last night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, a 9-0, one-hit shutout of the Pirates.

It was the third consecutive game in which a Reds starter had a one-hitter through six innings. Mike Leake did it on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. Bronson Arroyo did it Monday against the Pirates.

It was also the fourth consecutive quality start for the Reds pitching staff.

It was especially enjoyable not to have  911 pressed on your cell phone, waiting to push the send button because Coco Cordero was not pitching in the ninth and on the verge of giving me another stroke.

Rookie Chris Heisey brought his average up to .273 with a 3-4 performance, which included his first major league home run. It was a two-run shot in the seventh inning.

Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton actually left the game at the end of six with a quality start of his own, trailing 3-0. The bullpen couldn’t support him on this night.

Cueto was never in any serious trouble at all. He gave up his first hit, a single to Ronny Cedeno in the third inning.

Cueto then retired the next eight, before hitting Cedeno with a pitch in the home half of the sixth. He closed the show by retiring the final 12 Pirates he faced.

It was Cueto’s first complete game of his young career and his third consecutive quality start.

He threw only 102 pitches and 67 of them were strikes, while reducing his ERA to a nearly respectable 4.07.

The Reds win coupled with the St. Louis Cardinals home loss to the Houston Astros brought the Reds to within two games of the front running Cards.

It was the fourth win in a row for MLB’s hottest team. It assures them of winning the series which is their third in a row after losing their second set to the Cards.

Jay Bruce raised his average to .265 with three hits and three runs knocked in.

Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen, Joey Votto, and Ramon Hernandez had two hits each as the Reds out-hit the Bucs 15-1, They also left nine men stranded during the game.

In today’s final game of the series, at 12:35 PM, the Reds will throw Homer Bailey (0-2) against Pirate southpaw Zach Duke (2-3).

They will then return home for their third series against the Cardinals.

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