Winker’s homer backs Ro­mano’s strong start

The Columbus Dispatch - - Mlb -

CINCINNATI — Sal Ro­mano had com­pletegame stuff. He set­tled for the best start of his rookie sea­son.

Ro­mano pitched a ca­reer-high eight shutout in­nings, Jesse Winker home­red and the Cincinnati Reds beat the reel­ing Pitts­burgh Pi­rates 2-1 on Satur­day.

“It was fun play­ing be­hind Sal tonight,” Winker said. “It was cool to be a part of the game.”

Ro­mano (5-6) al­lowed five hits, struck out six and walked none while im­prov­ing to 3-1 over his past six starts. Elias Diaz’s one-out dou­ble in the fifth was the only run­ner to get past first base against the right-han­der.

“I felt I got into a good rhythm,” Ro­mano said. “I had fast­ball com­mand and a curve­ball that I could throw for strikes. The dif­fer­ence is con­fi­dence. You have to be­lieve that you’re bet­ter than the hit­ter.”

With top re­liev­ers Raisel Igle­sias and Michael Loren­zen un­avail­able, man­ager Bryan Price thought about leav­ing Ro­mano in to pitch the ninth. But he ended up tak­ing him out.

“The de­ci­sion to not let Sal fin­ish was tough and not tough,” Price said. “I knew he was up third in the eighth. If he had to run the bases and know­ing we didn’t have Igle­sias and Loren­zen made it easy. I would have set my­self up. I had (Cody) Reed and (Kevin) Schack­elford. I wanted them to have a clean in­ning. It was tough be­cause I re­ally wanted Sal to fin­ish. He had pitches left.”

Pitts­burgh avoided a shutout when An­drew McCutchen home­red against Schack­elford in the ninth. Reed came in with a run­ner on first and re­tired Gre­gory Polanco on a grounder to sec­ond for his first ca­reer save.

The Pi­rates wasted a solid start by Ivan Nova in their fourth con­sec­u­tive loss.

Nova had al­lowed one hit and faced the min­i­mum 18 bat­ters be­fore Winker led off the sev­enth with a drive to right for his sixth homer.

Zack Cozart fol­lowed with a dou­ble. Joey Votto then flied out and Eu­ge­nio Suarez walked be­fore Nova (11-14) de­parted with right calf dis­com­fort.

Scooter Gen­nett greeted Dan Gun­zler with an RBI sin­gle into cen­ter field for Cincinnati’s sec­ond run.

[JOHN MIN­CHILLO/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS]

Reds first base­man Joey Votto ex­tends for a high throw and gets the Pi­rates’ An­drew McCutchen out in the sixth in­ning.

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