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CIN@PIT: Latos strikes out 11 in six dominant frames

PITTSBURGH -- Powered by the long ball and a gutsy performance from right-hander Mat Latos, the Reds rolled to a 5-0 win over the Pirates on Sunday afternoon in the rubber game at PNC Park.

"The first inning was a little tough, he was sick today," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of his starter. "He was kind of lightheaded, and once he got his blood flowing it was good. His pitch count got high, especially after that first inning, but he battled in that first inning and got out of it, and that was big."

"I wasn't feeling good at all this morning," Latos said. "The first inning I was struggling. The first inning, every pitch felt like I was going to throw up and I started drinking a little more fluids and forcing it down, and it kind of quieted down a little bit."

Latos (2-2) got out of an early jam and tossed six shutout innings, surrendering two hits and notching a career-high 11 strikeouts. The righty threw 107 pitches and is now 3-0 in his career versus Pittsburgh -- all three wins at PNC Park.

The Pirates credited Latos for his effort.

"At this level, you need to give credit to the opposing staff," Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said. "Once Mat got out of the corner and put his foot down, he found his rhythm and his stroke."

"He was on today," Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez said. "Commanded his stuff well. I thought maybe we'd get to him at first, but then he settled down. He threw to both sides of the plate pretty well, not giving us too much to hit. He didn't give us much to work with."

The Reds' bullpen pitched three shutout innings to close out the game -- a combined effort from right-handers J.J. Hoover, Aroldis Chapman and Alfredo Simon. It was a big day for Hoover who hails from Pittsburgh, getting to pitch in front of the home folks.

Reds pitchers finished with 17 strikeouts, matching the club record for a nine-inning game established against the Cubs on May 16, 1998. Cincinnati pitchers fanned 19 Nationals in 14 innings on Aug. 28, 2011.

The Bucs matched their own record for futility, also going down on strikes 17 times June 14, 1995, against the Dodgers and July 21, 1997, against the Phillies.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton was victimized by a pair of home runs to Todd Frazier and Drew Stubbs. The right-hander allowed five runs (one unearned) and seven hits in six innings. He fell to 1-3 on the season.

The Reds jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Stubbs drew a walk and went to third base on an errant pickoff throw by Morton. Stubbs scored on an RBI single by Joey Votto.

Latos had early control issues, but wiggled out of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Neil Walker and Alvarez drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Frazier turned in a defensive gem at third base when he speared Casey McGehee's line drive for the second out. Latos got Nate McLouth with a called third strike to end the inning.

"That was big," Latos said of Frazier's defensive play. "I thought it was by him already and I was looking down the line to find where it was, and he comes up with it. That was key I think, to get me on track."

"That's just reaction right there, a hard hit ball you just try to knock it down basically, anything you can do to save the runners," Frazier explained. "Luckily it got in the glove, it almost snuck out there at the end. I was holding it trying to let [third-base umpire Ron Kulpa] know [I had it]. Then Latos did his thing. Whatever you can do to help and then he helped himself."

Frazier staked the Reds to a 2-0 lead with a two-out home run in the second inning -- his first of the season.

"My main thing is see ball hit ball and swing hard," Frazier said. "That's what I've been doing my whole life and you hit it hard most of the time it's going to be good."

Stubbs smacked a two-run homer following a walk to Zack Cozart to give the Reds a 4-0 lead in the top of the third.

Cincinnati tacked on another run in the top of the fifth inning on Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly.

"The getaway day is big," Baker said. "That's usually the rubber game and it was big for us to beat Morton. Last year he shut us out twice."

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