Pirates clinch last place in 10-4 loss to Reds

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Scott Rolen(notes) and Joey Votto(notes) sent the Pittsburgh Pirates to another low in their lost season.

Rolen had three hits and three RBIs, Votto had three doubles and scored three runs and the Cincinnati Reds beat Pittsburgh 10-4 on Tuesday night, clinching the Pirates’ third straight last-place finish in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh (56-93) lost for the 21st time in 24 games, the Pirates’ worst stretch since they lost 24 of 28 from July 13-Aug. 15, 1985.

“It’s very wearing, obviously,” Pirates starter Zach Duke(notes) said. “We’re all desperate for a win right now and just for a well-played ballgame.”

Andrew McCutchen(notes) homered and had two RBIs and Garrett Jones(notes) and Lastings Milledge(notes) had three hits each for Pittsburgh, which has lost four straight, seven of eight and 12 of 14.

“It’s no fun at all,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “Nobody likes to lose. But we’ve got to come back tomorrow, make sure we get ready and make sure we give ourselves a chance and hopefully this turns around. Nobody here—the staff or the players—nobody enjoys this one bit.”

Johnny Gomes and Ramon Hernandez(notes) both went 2 for 4 for the Reds, who have won six of eight. All eight Cincinnati starting position players had at least one hit.

Johnny Cueto(notes) (10-10) allowed two runs and nine hits in five innings to win his second consecutive decision following a six-game losing streak.

Cincinnati got all the scoring it would need during a five-run fifth against Duke that included Brandon Phillips’(notes) two-run single and RBI doubles by Votto and Rolen.

“We got a lot of two-out RBI knocks in that fifth, and that was big because (Duke) was sailing along pretty good until then,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

McCutchen led off the first with a home run for the fourth time this season, hitting a 2-0 pitch into the seats down the left-field line for his 12th home run.

“I settled down, definitely, came down and concentrated more after that,” Cueto said through an interpreter.

Cueto skipped his previous scheduled start because he had the flu.

“I was happy because for three full days I was sick and not throwing a baseball,” he said.

Ronny Cedeno(notes) drove in Milledge with a double in the fourth. The Reds added three runs in the seventh against Donnie Veal(notes) and Chris Bootcheck(notes) when Rolen, Gomes and Juan Francisco(notes) had RBI singles.

In his previous start at PNC Park, Duke (10-15) gave up hits to the first eight Chicago Cubs. On Tuesday, seven of eight Reds reached during the fifth— although one was on an error by catcher Ryan Doumit(notes)—and the only batter he retired in that span was Cueto on a sacrifice bunt.

Other than the five-run fifth, Duke allowed only four baserunners in his other six innings but lost his fourth straight decision. The Pirates have lost nine of his past 10 starts.

“There was some interesting stuff that happened there in that inning,” Duke said tersely, in a thinly veiled reference to some poor defensive plays. “I obviously allowed the leadoff hitter, the seven-hole hitter, to reach. I didn’t make a good pitch and kind of unraveled from there on. There were some interesting plays, but I shouldn’t have let it get as out of control as it did.”

Rolen and Jay Bruce(notes) had RBI hits in the eighth.

“We’ve got (11) games left in the season, we just want to do our best to finish off strong,” Votto said. “A lot of people on the team and in the front office believe all the injuries during the year were the reason why we played so poorly this year, and I think if we finish off strong with a reasonably close record to .500 that it will give us confidence going into next year.”

NOTES: Hernandez was playing for the first time since July 16 after knee surgery. … Cueto has won five of his past six starts against the Pirates. … For the fifth consecutive start, Duke remained tied for his career high in victories, set in 2006. … Pittsburgh starters have pitched at least six innings in 10 of the past 11 games. … RHP Eric Hacker(notes) made his major league debut for the Pirates.

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