The Pirates (0-6) haven’t been 0-7 since 1955, when they went on to finish last in the NL at 60-94.
“Everybody knows it’s how you finish, not how you start,” said Saturday’s losing pitcher Oliver Perez. “We’re not winning now, so we’re going to forget this game.”
The Reds (4-1) defeated Pittsburgh 11-9 on Saturday, and have not had a four-game sweep over an opponent since May 21-24, 2004 against Houston.
The Pirates have made late-inning comebacks in each game against the Reds— outscoring them 10-2 in the eighth and ninth innings—but the rallies have fallen short.
“Each and every time we creep back into the game, it’s followed by additional runs on the other side of the field,” Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. “You’re trying to get back into the game three and four times a day, and that’s tough to do.”
Rich Aurilia broke an 0-for-12 slump with a three-run homer in the second inning on Saturday, and Ken Griffey Jr. drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth for the 1,540th RBI of his career, tying Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell for 30th on the career list.
The Reds led the NL with 126 home runs at home last season and have already hit 11 homers and scored 39 runs in five games at Great American Ball Park this season.
“Every run we score is big,” Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron said. “We knew we had a chance to score a lot of runs. It’s a matter of shutting people down.”
Narron will send former Pirate Dave Williams to the mound on Sunday for the left-hander’s first start of the season.
“It’ll be nice to get out there finally, in the setting and everything,” Williams said. “I’ll try to do my thing and hopefully win a ballgame.”
Williams led the Pirates pitching staff with 10 wins last season, and was traded to the Reds in December for first baseman Sean Casey. Williams spent his first four seasons in the majors in Pittsburgh.
He is 1-1 in his only two starts at Great American Ball Park, allowing five earned runs in 11 innings.
Victor Santos makes his second start of the season. He took the loss in his Pittsburgh debut on Tuesday, allowing three runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss at Milwaukee.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 7.03 ERA in eight career appearances against the Reds. He has a 9.49 ERA in three starts at Great American Ball Park.
Second baseman Jose Castillo leads the Pirates with 10 hits, and had his third three-hit game of the season on Saturday.
Casey has gone just 3-for-13 against his former team, but left fielder Jason Bay continues to scorch the Reds.
Bay is 7-for-13 in the first three games against Cincinnati, and is batting .488 during an 11-game hit streak against the Reds dating to last season.
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