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Heisey, Cueto lead Reds over Pirates

Aug 31, 2014 - 11:51 PM Pittsburgh, PA ( - Chris Heisey homered twice, including a go-ahead solo blast in the ninth inning to lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Johnny Cueto pitched eight strong innings and Heisey also had a tying two-run shot in the fifth for the Reds, who avoided being swept in the three-game series.

Cueto (16-8) became the second pitcher with 16 wins this season after Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. He surrendered a home run to Josh Harrison on his first pitch but settled down to snap a two-start losing streak, striking out six, walking one and allowing nine hits.

"He's the definition of an ace in the big leagues, for me," said Heisey. "I'm sure a lot of other people feel the same way. To give up those two early runs and just bear down to get us a win, he's the best we got and I think one of the best in baseball."

Jordy Mercer also hit a solo homer for the playoff-hopeful Pirates, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Pittsburgh had runners at second and third base with two outs in the eighth when Reds third baseman Kristopher Negron made an over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory to end the inning.

Heisey then ripped his second homer of the season inside the left-field pole with one out in the top of the ninth off Jared Hughes (6-5), who was throwing his second inning in relief of Francisco Liriano.

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect bottom of the ninth to earn his 29th save.

Liriano went seven innings for the Pirates. He struck out five, walked three and gave up five hits, including Heisey's two-run homer in the fifth. He hasn't picked up a win in his last six starts. The Pirates have lost all six games, scoring just 12 runs.

Cueto entered the game with a 3-0 record against the Pirates this season, giving up just six runs with 25 strikeouts in 30 innings over four starts. He now has a career-high 17 wins against them.

But he gave up a homer on his first pitch, a slider that stayed up and inside for Harrison, who drove it over the wall in right.

Mercer also homered on a slider in the second inning to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. It came three pitches after Cueto picked Starling Marte off at first base.

Liriano struck out the side in the first inning and didn't give up a hit until Todd Frazier's two-out single in the fourth. He walked Ryan Ludwick to lead off the fifth inning and Heisey crushed the next pitch, a changeup, deep into the left field seats to tie the score at 2-2.

"We threw (142) pitches on the day and two of them ended up costing us," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

Game Notes

All three games in the series were decided by one run ... The Reds traded bullpen stalwart Jonathan Broxton to the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday for two players to be named later ... Heisey hit his sixth and seventh homers of the season. Harrison hit his 13th homer and Mercer his eighth ... The Pirates start a 10-game road trip on Monday in St. Louis ... The Reds remain on the road for a three-game series in Baltimore starting Tuesday.