After a solid outing against Philadelphia on April 8 when he allowed just one run and six hits over seven innings in a 6-2 victory, Vogelsong was hit hard by the Chicago Cubs in consecutive losses.
The right-hander surrendered 15 runs—five of those homers—on 19 hits over eight innings against Chicago in losses on April 14 and April 20.
“I put my team in a bad situation two starts in a row,” he said after the last loss. “I’ve got to do better than that.”
Vogelsong believes he tipped his pitches to the Cubs, and has since watched videotape to try to make sure he doesn’t do it again.
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon was disappointed with the performance but expects Vogelsong, who has just 10 major league starts, to improve with time.
“I’m sure he was trying to press a little bit. That’s part of the learning process, the growing curve with him,” he said.
“This guy is not a polished veteran pitcher. He’s trying to make it through his first full year and there are going to be some ups and downs. We’re not going to panic. We are going to make him better.”
Pittsburgh snapped a four-game losing streak with the help of another young pitcher, Oliver Perez. The 22-year-old left-hander shut out the Reds, allowing just six hits while striking out 10 for his first career complete game.
The Pirates, who entered the game second-worst in the league with 12 home runs, connected for three on Sunday. Rookie Jose Castillo hit a two-run homer, and Rob Mackowiak and back-up catcher Humberto Cota had solo shots.
The Reds snapped a three-game winning streak and dropped a game behind the first-place Cubs in the NL Central.
Adam Dunn, who failed to reach base safely for the first time in 18 games, struck out three straight times. He came into the game 6-for-17 with four homers and seven RBIs against Pittsburgh this season before going 0-for-4.