CINCINNATI -- Reds starting pitcher Rookie Davis seemed to back himself into trouble against the Pirates on Wednesday, dodging one jam after another. But when the smoke cleared, Cincinnati had a 7-2 victory using three home runs and Davis notched his first win in the big leagues.
Davis threw 91 pitches over five scoreless innings with four hits, three walks, a hit batter and two strikeouts. Following a nine-pitch perfect top of the first inning, Pittsburgh had runners in scoring position in each of the next three innings -- including the bases loaded in the second and fourth innings -- but went 0-for-6 with eight men stranded in those situations. Davis, who faced the minimum in the fifth and got a Josh Bell double play, worked more than four innings for the first time in his four starts.
"Rookie was good," Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco said. "We kind of weaved in and out of traffic there, but we never had a collision. We were able to piece our way through the game and maybe try to make a guy chase here and let's move on to the next guy."
Pirates starter Jameson Taillon, who came into the night with a 2.08 ERA in five starts, was knocked around for six earned runs and eight hits over his five innings with one walk and six strikeouts. The Reds took a 3-0 lead on Eugenio Suarez's three-run homer to left field with two outs in the first inning. In the fourth inning, Billy Hamilton's first homer of the season was also a three-run shot -- pulled to right field for a 6-0 lead. Mesoraco's homer to left field against Trevor Williams in the sixth made it a seven-run game.
"Second, third and fourth innings, we had innings to push," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "They hit a couple homers with men on base. We had three shots at doing something in those middle innings and we weren't able to do it. That put us in a bad spot."
"Cutch got that one pretty good," Bell said of McCutchen's 108-mph, 432-foot shot to left. "We'll just ride that one into tomorrow and hopefully do the same thing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Suarez opens up lead: Suarez continued his strong start to 2017 when he took Taillon's 1-1 changeup to the left-field seats. It was his sixth homer of the season but according to Statcast™, it wasn't an obvious shot. The ball left the bat at 98.4 mph at a 24 degree launch angle and traveled 373 feet. There was only a 48 percent hit probability based on that velocity and angle. Suarez is batting .444 with two homers and nine RBIs in five games this season vs. the Pirates, and .322 overall.
"I know they have a lot of good pitchers," Suarez said. "They try to beat me and I'm ready for that. I know how they like to pitch me. I'm ready for those pitches. They tried to work a lot with fastballs and when they're up in the count, they try breaking balls and I'm ready for that."
Hamilton shows rare power: In the fourth inning with two on and one out, Hamilton attacked a 95-mph first pitch fastball from Taillon and pulled it into the visitors' bullpen in right field. At 100.1 mph, it was Hamilton's hardest-hit ball of the season, topping his 99.4-mph from two days ago. It was also his first homer in 319 at-bats since June 28, 2016, vs. Jon Lester of the Cubs, ending the third-longest active homerless drought in the big leagues. More >
"Especially with how things went in Milwaukee [eight runs and 11 hits over 2 2/3 innings on April 26], that's the biggest difference from this outing to the previous one. It was being able to execute pitches and being able to keep myself composed and just compete. Mes, every time he came out there, was like, 'Stop thinking, just compete. I got you.' It meant a lot. This first win is pretty special. I have to keep it rolling now." -- Davis
"Stuff was great tonight. That's why it's tough. You only get a handful of nights here where you feel that good and crisp and clean and the ball's flying out of your hands. Execution, maybe second-guessing a couple of my shakes and pitch selection. I just need to trust it and go with it."--Taillon
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McCutchen's two-run homer was his 18th at Great American Ball Park. That tied him with Aramis Ramirez for the fourth-most all-time for a visiting player in Cincinnati's ballpark, and he now trails only Lance Berkman (23), Ryan Braun (22) and Albert Pujols (20).
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates: Right-hander Ivan Nova, who on Wednesday was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, will look to continue his early season success in May as the Pirates and Reds finish their four-game series Thursday at 12:35 p.m. ET at Great American Ball Park. Nova is coming off a 95-pitch shutout against the Marlins on Saturday, his second complete game of the season.
Reds: The Reds will send Tim Adleman to the mound to try for the four-game series win. Adleman allowed a career-high five earned runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings on Friday in a 7-5 loss to the Cardinals. But he is 2-0 with 3.00 ERA in two career starts last season vs. the Pirates.