Ivan Nova pitched his second complete game in seven starts on Thursday night to propel the Bucs over the Reds. Pittsburgh has now won their second straight after a hard eight game losing streak. However, the efforts of Nova and Jung ho Kang have kept the Bucs National League Wild Card hopes alive.
Nova moved to 5-0 with the Pirates since the trade with New York Yankees on August 1. In Thursday night’s game, Nova walked no batters– he has walked just two in 46 2/3 innings– and struck out four.
Kang continues to have a strong presence in the Bucs’ lineup as he drove in two runs in the first inning. In the four games since returning from the DL, Kang has hit 7 for 13 with seven RBIs.
In the bottom of the first, Kang opened up the scoring by crushing a double to deep center off Cincinnati’s starter Dan Straily. The double allowed Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco to score. Francisco Cervelli later singled scoring Kang giving the Pirates an early lead 3-0.
The Reds attempted a comeback in the top of the sixth but only came away with one run off an infield single by Zack Cozart that scored Tucker Barnhart. The Bucs still led 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth.
McCutchen took the run back in the bottom of the sixth to single in the final run of the game. Josh Harrison was able to score putting Pittsburgh back up by three, 4-1.
The Pirates will look to keep their playoff hopes alive as they face the Reds at PNC Park again on Friday night. The first pitch will be thrown at 7:05 P.M. ET with Steven Brault on the mound.