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Reds overcome early deficit to cruise past Bucs

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- In their first two meetings this season, Ivan Nova baffled the Reds. Cincinnati figured him out Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, forcing him out after three innings and cruising to a 7-4 win. Joey Votto had four hits and homered, Scott Schebler tacked on three hits and Tucker Barnhart drove in four runs as the Reds -- who wore green uniforms to celebrate Irish Heritage Day -- avoided a three-day, four-game sweep.

Nova held the Reds to four runs on 12 hits without a walk over his first 16 innings against the Reds, but he couldn't repeat that success Sunday. He allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits in three innings, his shortest start of the season. It has been a sensational second half for Nova, the Pirates' latest pitching success story who entered the game with a 2.41 ERA over his first eight starts with the Bucs.

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CINCINNATI -- In their first two meetings this season, Ivan Nova baffled the Reds. Cincinnati figured him out Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, forcing him out after three innings and cruising to a 7-4 win. Joey Votto had four hits and homered, Scott Schebler tacked on three hits and Tucker Barnhart drove in four runs as the Reds -- who wore green uniforms to celebrate Irish Heritage Day -- avoided a three-day, four-game sweep.

Nova held the Reds to four runs on 12 hits without a walk over his first 16 innings against the Reds, but he couldn't repeat that success Sunday. He allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits in three innings, his shortest start of the season. It has been a sensational second half for Nova, the Pirates' latest pitching success story who entered the game with a 2.41 ERA over his first eight starts with the Bucs.

Full Game Coverage

"I was throwing strikes. I was throwing hard. Falling behind a lot of hitters," Nova said. "I have faced those guys before two times already. You've got to give them some credit, too."

Votto tied his career high with four hits and a walk and homered to left in the eighth against right-hander Drew Hutchison. After Pedro Florimon's two-run triple gave the Bucs an early lead, Barnhart lashed a game-tying double in the second. Votto and Brandon Phillips doubled in the third, then Schebler singled home a run and Barnhart plated another with his first of two sacrifice flies.

Video: PIT@CIN: Votto hits 25th homer, racks up four hits

"Who does this with this type of consistency?" Reds manager Bryan Price said of Votto. "Who hits the ball on the barrel against all different lefties, righties, hard throwers, soft throwers, breaking-ball pitchers, guys that pitch him inside, guys that pitch him outside. It's great to watch."

Reds right-hander Dan Straily made a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings, and picked up his first Major League hit. The loss ended the Pirates' four-game winning streak and dropped them back under .500, further damaging their already-dwindling postseason odds. Pittsburgh is five games behind San Francisco for the second National League Wild Card spot.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tucker and run: Barnhart's bat ended up being the difference for the Reds' offense. He drove a long two-run double into the right-center gap in the second to bring the game back to a tie and then drove in two more with sacrifice flies to center in the third and seventh. It was Barnhart's second career four-RBI game, tying a career high. His previous four-RBI game came on Aug. 16 against Miami. Barnhart is now 3-for-5 since ending an 0-for-10 stretch on Saturday.

The thing is with Nova is that really good sinker, trying to induce a ground ball," Price said. "[Barnhart] ends up hitting the two-run double and a couple of sacrifice flies for four RBIs and not thinking about trying to hook a homer but stayed in the middle of the field with a great approach, defended some really tough breaking balls that were thrown down and in to him that he was able to foul off to extend the at-bat and then get that ball out to center field."

Video: PIT@CIN: Barnhart plates a pair with a two-bagger

Strong Rodriguez: Sean Rodriguez continued his torrid streak at the plate, cranking a solo homer to center field in the sixth inning. Rodriguez, who also homered in both halves of Saturday's doubleheader, has gone deep five times in his last seven games. Rodriguez extended his career-high homer total to 17 with the Statcast-projected 401-foot blast that bounced off the top of the center-field fence. Rodriguez was behind in the count, 0-2, after taking a strike and drawing back a bunt attempt on the first two pitches before hammering a 90-mph fastball from Straily.

"I was just telling myself, 'All right, let's battle and put it in play,'" Rodriguez said. "I got more of it than you're trying to do with two strikes."

Video: PIT@CIN: Rodriguez swats a solo homer to center

Breaking Glas-now: Pirates rookie Tyler Glasnow put together his best performance yet out of the bullpen, firing three scoreless innings after Nova's abbreviated outing. The Bucs' top prospect allowed two hits and two walks but struck out four, stranding two runners in scoring position to end the sixth inning.

"Very pleased with Glasnow's effort today. Gave us three strong innings in the middle of the game when we needed them," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Another good step in growth."

As a starter pitching on one day of rest, Glasnow couldn't air it out quite like he did in a one-inning stint Friday night -- when his fastball touched 98 mph due to a mechanical adjustment he made in the bullpen -- but he mixed his fastball and curveball enough to mostly keep the Reds off balance. What caught Hurdle's attention was the way Glasnow got ahead of the Reds, as he threw a first-pitch strike to each of the 13 hitters he faced.

"When I'm out there, I'm not really thinking about how many innings and all that," Glasnow said. "It's not too much different. It's just a little bit more adrenaline."

Video: PIT@CIN: Glasnow retires Phillips, strands a pair

Straily's big single: In the bottom of the third, Straily ripped a grounder with a Statcast-estimated 92.8-mph exit velocity through the right side of the infield to notch his first career hit and immediately motioned for the ball. Coming into that at-bat, Straily was tied for the most sacrifices (11) and strikeouts (36) for a full season without a hit. The hit, which came in Straily's 64th plate appearance, broke an 0-for-48 start to his career and an 0-for-45 start to the season.

"It finally happened, huh?" Straily said. "It was one of the more memorable moments I'll have on a baseball field. That was awesome, to be so brutal at the plate and to get a knock in a Major League game is something I'll be proud of. They can never take that away."

Video: PIT@CIN: Straily smacks first career hit in 49th AB

QUOTABLE
"At 4 p.m., I can hit the ball. It's just so late, everything's been so late. The other day I was hitting, the last time pitchers were able to get on the field and Tucker and [Tyler] Holt walked out and they were watching us and they said, 'Why don't you take these kind of aggressive swings in the game.' I was like, 'I don't know.' They said, 'You're going to look stupid at the plate anyway, so just take those aggressive swings and you might make contact and it'll get through.'"
-- Straily, on hitting advice he got from Barnhart and Tyler Holt

"We've been playing great on the road. Every game right now is as important as any. You want to call it crunch time, you want to call it go time -- whatever you want to call it."-- Rodriguez

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rodriguez's homer was the 239th allowed by the Reds' pitching staff this season, tying the 2001 Rockies for the National League single-season record. The Major League record of 241 is held by the 1996 Tigers. The Reds set the Major League record for homers allowed by a bullpen at 93 earlier in the series and have set a new franchise record for most homers allowed in a season.

This was the last game of the season series, which the Pirates won, 10-9. Last season, when the Pirates won 98 games, the Reds took 11 of their 19 matchups with the Bucs.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Votto's Statcast-estimated 359-foot homer in the eighth drew a crew-chief review after it bounced back into play. The call on the field was confirmed, giving the Reds their seventh run of the game.

Video: PIT@CIN: Votto's solo homer is confirmed after review

WHAT'S NEXT
Pirates: After an off-day in Milwaukee on Monday, the Pirates will begin a three-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park on Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. ET. The last time they visited Milwaukee, the Bucs secured their first four-game sweep in the Brewers' home ballpark. The series will wrap up an 11-day, 11-game road trip that began in Philadelphia.

Reds: The Reds kick off a 10-game, 11-day road trip with an 8:05 p.m. ET game on Monday against the Cubs. Tim Adleman takes the mound looking to continue the Reds' two-game winning streak over Chicago. Adleman allowed four runs on three hits and three walks in five innings to the Brewers his last time out. The Cubs counter with Jason Hammel, who is 2-0 with 12 shutout innings against Cincinnati this season.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.