It only took one game for the Pittsburgh Pirates to start putting a miserable month behind them.
Now that they’ve ended their longest losing streak of the season, the Pirates will try for their first series win since July as they continue their three-game road set against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh (58-79) posted a 7-21 record in August - its worst mark in a month since going 5-22 in September 1998 - and concluded the month with a 10-game losing streak, its longest since dropping 13 in a row from June 15-28, 2006.
The Pirates halted the skid in their first game of September, though, earning a 3-2 road victory over the Reds (61-77) on Tuesday.
Rookies Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche - acquired in the July 31 three-team trade that sent outfielder Jason Bay to Boston - each homered for Pittsburgh, which won for the first time since Aug. 19 at St. Louis.
“Basically, we’ve been pressing the last few games,” said Moss, who had a career-high three hits and is batting .366 (15-for-41) with four homers and six RBIs over his last 11 games. “It’s hard enough playing baseball and winning games without pressing. It’s a roller-coaster with ups and downs, and we’ve been on a prolonged down.”
On Wednesday, Pittsburgh tries for its first series win since taking two of three games from visiting Colorado July 28-30.
Despite the series-opening victory, the Pirates are still batting only .239 and averaging 2.8 runs over their last 11 games. Against Reds All-Star Edinson Volquez (16-5, 3.04 ERA), more struggles could be in store.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts this season against the Pirates, who he limited to one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-1 road victory on Aug. 12.
Volquez is 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA over his last four starts overall, but he wasn’t at his best Friday as he labored through 5 1-3 innings, giving up a season-high six earned runs and eight hits in an 11-7 home victory over San Francisco.
Tuesday’s defeat dropped Cincinnati to 3-1 on its nine-game homestand. The Reds also saw their four-game winning streak at Great American Ballpark snapped.
Perhaps the lone bright spot for Cincinnati was rookie outfielder Chris Dickerson, who homered to lead off the game and is batting .329 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 18 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.
Dickerson is also 5-for-11 (.455) in three games versus Pittsburgh, which hands the ball to Ross Ohlendorf (1-1, 6.53 in AL) to make his first career start and Pirates debut.
The right-hander, acquired as part of the deal that sent outfielder Xavier Nady and reliever Damaso Marte to the New York Yankees on July 26, is joining the Pirates after going 4-3 with a 3.47 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Ohlendorf hasn’t pitched in the majors since the Yankees’ 15-6 loss to the New York Mets on June 27, when he was roughed up for six runs and five hits in 1 1-3 innings out of the bullpen. Six days prior to that, he allowed two hits while recording only two outs against Cincinnati but did not give up a run in his only career appearance versus the Reds.