Cincinnati Reds (65-71) at Pittsburgh Pirates (71-64) 1:35 p.m. (ET)

 

The Sports Network

(SportsNetwork.com) - A sweep is one thing. A sweep of Johnny Cueto is quite another.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will go for a fifth straight win and a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, but they'll have to contend with a pitcher who's bedeviled them in four previous meetings this season.

Pittsburgh enters the finale just a game off the pace of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League wild card spot after picking up their second straight win against the Reds, 3-2, on Saturday.

"It's a testament to our pitching," Pittsburgh's Neil Walker said. "We only scored three runs today and Vance (Worley) and the bullpen made it stand up. That's what won it for us."

Cueto, however, is 3-0 with a stingy 1.80 earned run average in four meetings with the Pirates in 2014 while allowing just six runs and 18 hits in 30 innings, and striking out 25 batters.

He'll again face Francisco Liriano, whom he's beaten twice this season.

Cueto has 16 career wins against the Pirates, his most against any team. The Reds have scored 19 runs for him in this year's four starts against Pittsburgh, including six in a July 13 victory in which he allowed three runs on five hits over six innings of work.

In his last two starts, however, Cincinnati has scored no runs. Cueto hasn't lost three straight starts since 2012. He was beaten, 3-0, on Tuesday by the Chicago Cubs after waiting through a 50-minute rain delay in the first inning after the game had begun.

"I was upset," he said. "They knew it was going to rain. They should've called timeout and not started the game. I was afraid I was going to hit him with a pitch. I couldn't grip the ball."

Liriano has not won in his last five starts, including a six-inning stint on Monday against St. Louis in which he allowed no runs, but got a no-decision when the Pirates ultimately lost, 3-2.

Pittsburgh has scored four runs in the winless drought, and Liriano has a 2.81 earned run average in his last eight outings, during which he's allowed two or fewer runs seven times.

On Saturday, Worley (6-4) snapped a three-start losing streak after giving up two runs -- one earned -- on three hits in 6 1/3 innings for the Pirates.

Todd Frazier hit a solo home run and Alfredo Simon (13-9) took the loss after giving up three runs on four hits in seven innings for the Reds.

The Reds entered this series with a 9-4 mark against the Pirates.

Read more Baseball Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category