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Harrison's balanced effort helps Pirates edge Reds

Aug 30, 2014 - 2:28 AM Pittsburgh, PA ( - Josh Harrison provided a spark both offensively and defensively to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game set on Friday.

The game was scoreless until the eighth when the Reds broke the stalemate on Devin Mesoraco's RBI single.

Pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, singled with one out in the home eighth off Jonathan Broxton (4- 2). Lambo scampered home on Harrison's triple off the right-field wall, then Jose Tabata followed with a chopper through the hole on the left side that plated Harrison for a 2-1 lead.

Tony Watson (10-1) recorded one out in the eighth for the win before Mark Melancon came on in the ninth and worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 25th save of the season.

Pittsburgh has won three straight and six of its last eight.

Edinson Volquez, who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, was on the hook for the loss until his offense finally got going. Volquez allowed one run on three hits and three walks while striking out six in 7 2/3 innings.

"I was really serious tonight," said Volquez, who spent four seasons with the Reds. "I wasn't looking over to their dugout. Sometimes I get too relaxed playing those guys."

Volquez's no-hit bid wouldn't have gotten past the fourth if it wasn't for Harrison, who made a sprawling stop to his left on Todd Frazier's grounder for the first out of the inning. Brandon Phillips proceeded to line out and Mesoraco grounded out to end the frame.

Billy Hamilton worked a walk with one out in the sixth, just Cincinnati's third baserunner of the night, stole second and advanced on a throwing error by Russell Martin. Frazier struck out on the next pitch and Phillips ripped a liner right into the waiting glove of Harrison as Volquez kept the no-hitter intact.

"Harrison is the MVP," Volquez said.

When asked if he thought Harrison was the team MVP or league MVP, Volquez responded, "The league."

Harrison lined a ground-rule double just inside the left-field line with two outs in the home sixth and Tabata followed with an infield single. Cincinnati starter Mike Leake worked out of trouble, however, getting Andrew McCutchen to pop out to end the inning.

Leake kept the Pirates off the board through seven solid innings, yielding just six hits with a strikeout and no walks.

Mesoraco ended the no-hitter in the following inning with a leadoff single through the shift on the left side. One hit must have been all the Reds needed because Jay Bruce followed with a single off the glove of second baseman Neil Walker.

Harrison figured to keep the game scoreless, though. Kris Negron's first attempt to move the runners over with a bunt went foul, then Volquez broke off a curveball that crossed for a strike. Negron sent a hard grounder down the third-base line, where Harrison made a diving stop, tagged third with his throwing hand and fired over to first for the 5-3 double play.

"We had two pitchers there who were locked in," said Reds manager Bryan Price of Volquez and Leake. "(Mesoraco) had that big hit, but we weren't able to hold it."

With Hamilton on second in the eighth, Volquez plunked Phillips which ended his night. Watson entered and Mesoraco poked a single out to left that scored Hamilton for the game's first run.

An error by Starling Marte in left on the play allowed Phillips to try for home, but once again Harrison had other ideas. Marte got to the loose ball, short-hopped shortstop Jordy Mercer as the ball rolled away toward third base, where Harrison alertly gathered and threw Phillips out at the plate to keep it a one-run game.

Game Notes

The Pirates announced on Friday that starter Gerrit Cole was optioned to Single-A Bristol while infielder/outfielder Lambo was recalled from Indy ... The last no-hitter in Pittsburgh history was a combined 10-inning no-no on July 12, 1997 by Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon. John Candelaria tossed a no-hitter on Aug. 9, 1976 in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers ... The Pirates have thrown six no-hitters in their franchise history ... Volquez hasn't lost a decision since July 21 ... Hamilton stole two bases to give him 53 on the year ... The Reds had their two-game winning streak snapped.