Paul Skenes wins his fourth straight decision and leads Pirates over Reds 4-1

Paul Skenes wins his fourth straight decision and leads Pirates over Reds 4-1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie Paul Skenes pitched one-run ball over six innings to win his fourth straight decision and lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 on Monday night.

Skenes (4-0) allowed six hits in six innings with seven strikeouts and one walk, lowering his ERA to 2.29. The 22-year-old right-hander has 53 strikeouts and seven walks in 39 1/3 innings, and the Pirates are 6-1 in his starts.

Skenes reached 100 mph with five pitches and has thrown 65 pitches of 100 mph or higher. The second-most in the major leagues is the Los Angeles Angels’ José Soriano with 36, according to MLB Statcast.

However, Skenes was most pleased with being able to mix pitches on a night he didn’t have his best fastball.

“It’s literally just getting to a position where I have to use all five of my pitches,” Skenes said. “That’s where I was today. There were a couple games like that last year, in pro ball and in college, too, where I had to do that. It was kind of cool to execute my way through six innings, kind of out of necessity.”

Skenes arrived in the major leagues on May 11 to great expectations. He has matched them so far.

“I think it speaks to his maturity,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “You really don’t ever see him get rattled, which is a really good sign for a starting pitcher.”

Skenes faced Cincinnati for the first time.

“Early on, we were really trying to be ready for his fastball and I thought we did a nice job of it in the first inning,” Reds manager David Bell said. “To his credit, he made a nice adjustment, went to his other pitches and did a really good against us. He’s impressive.”

David Bednar pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances. He has converted 14 in a row after blowing three of his first four.

After a 30-minute rain delay at the start, Spencer Steer in an RBI double in the first.

Bryan Reynolds hit a pair of doubles for the Pirates, extending his hitting streak to 15 games.

Bell was ejected by plate umpire Malachi Moore in the middle of the eighth inning. The Reds were upset that a stadium LED light display was distracting pitcher Brent Suter during the seventh inning.

Pittsburgh opened a six-game homestand by winning for the third time in four games. The Reds have lost five of seven. The Reds’ Elly De La Cruz had three hits and stole his major league-leading 37th base.

Rookie Carson Spiers (0-1) gave up four runs and seven hits over six innings in his first start this season after five relief appearances

Andrew McCutchen walked in the first, took third on Reynolds’ double and scored on Oneil Cruz’s two-run single. Ke’Bryan Hayes hit an RBI groundout in the third, and McCutchen and Reynolds hit back-to-back doubles in the second.

Pittsburgh recalled right-hander Daulton Jefferies from Indianapolis and optioned left-hander Justin Bruihl to the Triple-A club.

TRAINER’S ROOM

LHP Martín Pérez (left groin muscle strain) threw batting practice. … INF/OF Ji Hwan (hip muscle strain) was one of the hitters who faced Perez and could be ready to begin a rehab assignment this week

Reds: CF TJ Friedl left in the sixth inning with tightness in his right hamstring after making a diving catch of Nick Gonzales’ line drive to left-center field. … INF Christian Encarnacion-Strand (right ulnar styloid fracture) was transferred to the 60-day IL. Out since May 7, Encarnacion-Strand is expected to decide this week whether to have surgery. RHP Brooks Kriske’s contract was selected from Louisville and he was optioned to the Triple-A farm team. Kriske had exercised an opt-out clause in his minor league contract.

UP NEXT

Reds LHP Nick Lodolo (7-2, 2.93 ERA) will face the Pirates LHP Bailey Falter (3-4, 3.86) on Tuesday night. Lodolo is the first Cincinnati pitcher to win at least seven of his first 10 starts in a season since Bronson Arroyo in 2009. Falter has lost his last two starts.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB