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Hoover comes on late, ends franchise-long skid

CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever J.J. Hoover knew he wasn't popular around town with fans after the rough 2014 season he endured. Hoover got a chance to rise to the occasion on Wednesday in his 2015 debut, and he didn't disappoint.

With two scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th vs. the Pirates, Hoover was the winning pitcher during the Reds' 5-4 victory. It snapped his personal 10-game losing streak.

"It gives me a world of confidence," Hoover said. "I have confidence in myself. Last year obviously wasn't a year in how I would draw up a year for me. This is a new year. Last year is the past. I don't care about it. I'm moving on."

Hoover gave up a leadoff single off his glove by Sean Rodriguez, but he retired his next six batters in a row. In the top of the 11th, Hoover got three groundouts from the toughest part of Pittsburgh's order -- Josh Harrison, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen. Last season, that didn't happen enough. In 54 games, Hoover was 1-10 with a 4.88 ERA. After the first win came the 10 straight losing decisions, setting a franchise record. He also tied a Reds single-season record for losses among relievers and allowed 13 home runs with 31 walks over 62 2/3 innings.

"He came off a rough year, and people don't tend to want to let him forget it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "For us to be successful, we have to have a seven-man bullpen that's performing. That's a great way for Hoov to start the year. We're very familiar with his successes in 2012 and 2013, and should anticipate similar results in 2015."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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