PITTSBURGH -- The Reds continued to focus on developing their young arms on Tuesday as they turned to 25-year-old left-hander Cody Reed to make his third start of the season against the Pirates at PNC Park. Reed entered having made 13 career starts since his debut in 2016, and the Reds had posted an 0-13 record in those games.
The losing streak continued as Reed allowed six earned runs on nine hits over five innings in Cincinnati's 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh.
"It's tough to pitch," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Hitters have made such progress. It's really tough to pitch, to get through lineups, and we haven't found the secret to get through lineups three times."
The Reds acquired Reed from the Royals in July 2015 alongside left-handers Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb in a trade for Johnny Cueto. He made 10 starts in 2016, but started just one game for the Major League club last season. The southpaw has posted an 0-9 record and 8.09 ERA over 14 starts in his career.
Reed allowed five runs (three earned) over three innings in a start against the Phillies on April 9 and proceeded to make his next 10 appearances in a relief role. He was given another opportunity to start at the Major League level against the Brewers on Thursday and seemed to take a step forward, surrendering one earned run in a no-decision.
Reed's struggles resurfaced early against the Pirates as Adam Frazier lined a one-out double to center field in the first inning and later scored on a Francisco Cervelli RBI single to put the Reds down, 1-0.
He then appeared to settle in, retiring five batters in a row before allowing Starling Marte to reach on a soft-hit single in the third inning. He issued a four-pitch walk to Frazier, and the Pirates capitalized as Gregory Polanco lined a two-run double to right. Jose Osuna later drove him in on a sacrifice fly.
Despite his line, Reed managed to attack the strike zone and induce weak contact from Pirates' hitters. Six of the nine hits allowed were ground balls that found their way through holes in the defense.
"It's encouraging to me to see weak contact, even if it goes through," Reed said, "because I know that I'm jamming guys, I'm getting the ball in, working away, up and down. I felt fine. I was throwing strikes, [went] through five [innings] and battled. I made it through five and tried to keep my team in it as much as I could."
One of the hardest-hit balls of the night came in the fourth inning, when Marte crushed a two-run homer to right-center field to make it 6-0.
The Reds eventually broke through against Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove in the seventh inning, scoring a pair of runs, but were unable to overcome early damage and climb back into the game.
"I think the big blow of the game was Marte adding two," Riggleman said. "It was still in range there, and then Marte hits the home run. That really kind of flattened us out a little bit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stranding ducks on the pond: With one out in the seventh inning and Reds trailing, 6-0, Gennett hammered a solo home run to right field off Musgrove to put the Reds on the board. Musgrove then gave up back-to-back singles to Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler before being lifted for right-hander Richard Rodriguez.
After Tucker Barnhart drew a seven-pitch walk to load the bases, Rodriguez hit Phillip Ervin to score Suarez and bring the tying run to the plate. Rodriguez retired the next two batters he faced to end the rally and keep it a four-run game.
Gennett launched solo home runs in the seventh and eighth innings, marking the fourth multi-homer game of his career. It's the first time he's had more than one multi-homer game in the same season, as he hit two home runs against the Braves on April 24.
Gennett had one multi-homer game in 2017, when he hit four long balls against the Cardinals on June 6. His first multi-homer game came as a Brewer, hitting two home runs against the Rangers on Aug. 13, 2013.
Right-hander Homer Bailey will start for the Reds on Wednesday as they close out a three-game series with the Pirates at PNC Park at 7:05 p.m. ET. Bailey will try to end a streak of six straight losses dating back to July 31. Right-hander Jameson Taillon will be on the mound for Pittsburgh.