Five-run first inning propels Reds

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Paul Wilson figured he'd win 10 games this
season. He just didn't think it would take so long.

Wilson (10-6) earned his 10th victory -- in his 11th attempt --
and the Cincinnati Reds won their fourth in a row, 7-4 over the
Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.

"Given the lead that we had, I was just trying to get outs with
my fastball," Wilson said. "I wasn't trying to get into deep
counts. And defensively, my guys did a great job for me. That's who
I am and that's what I've got to do to be successful."

Cincinnati hadn't had a 10-game winner in two years, but Wilson
joined Aaron Harang, who picked up his 10th victory of the season
Friday against the Pirates. Wilson won his ninth game on July 8 at
Milwaukee, but was 0-4 with a 6.52 ERA in 10 starts since.

"He's worked hard to get it," Cincinnati manager Dave Miley
said. "We all know how many starts and maybe some opportunities
that just didn't happen for him, but to get two guys on
back-to-back days to get two wins, that's good for them."

Wilson allowed one run and six hits in seven innings against the
Pirates, who have lost five straight and 10 of their last 12. But
he still had to hold on until the end when Jack Wilson doubled and
Jason Bay walked against closer Joe Valentine with two outs in the
ninth. But Valentine fanned Rob Mackowiak on a 3-2 pitch to end the

Jack Wilson went 4-for-5 and is six hits shy of becoming the
first Pirates player with 200 hits since Dave Parker in 1977.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal, really," Jack Wilson
said. "It would be nice to get 200 hits, but the only reason I get
200 hits is because I don't walk. It doesn't matter how good you do
in games you lose."

Catcher Jason LaRue went 2-for-5 and drove in four runs to set a
career-high with 55 RBI, eclipsing his previous best of 52 set in

"Obviously, that's one of the most important stats that a
hitter has is RBI and I take a lot of pride in trying to get as
many as I can every single year," LaRue said. "In years past,
I've been designated as the 8-hole hitter and this year there's a
lot more times I was hitting sixth or seventh and usually you have
more RBI opportunities."

Two of LaRue's RBI came in a five-run first inning against
Pittsburgh left-hander Dave Williams. It was the second straight
game in which Cincinnati jumped on a Pirates starter in the opening
inning. The Reds broke out with seven runs, all earned, Friday
against Ryan Vogelsong.

Williams faced 11 batters and threw 43 pitches in the first
inning, and allowed five runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in
five innings. He was coming off three solid outings in which he was
2-0 with a 0.93 ERA, but got into trouble almost as soon as he took
the mound.

"We've gotten a total of seven innings in the last three starts
and when the bullpens trying to cover 20 innings, it's just not
going to happen," Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We've
got to find some quality starts from somewhere real quick."

Pirates reliever Nelson Figueroa gave up a two-run single to
LaRue in the sixth to put the Reds ahead 7-1, but the Pirates
scored one in the seventh and three in the eighth before Valentine
put it away in the ninth.

Pittsburgh outfielder Craig Wilson went 1-for-4 with an RBI and
a run scored, but established a dubious mark along the way. His two
strikeouts against Paul Wilson gave him 165 for the year and broke
Donn Clendenon's single-season Pirates record of 163 set in 1968.

Game notes
The loss guaranteed the Pirates their fourth straight
losing season at PNC Park. They're 38-41 with only Sunday's series
finale against Cincinnati remaining. ... The last time Pittsburgh
had a winning record at home was 1999, when the team went 45-36 at
Three Rivers Stadium. ... Pirates catcher Jason Kendall's
fifth-inning single was the 1,400th hit of his career. ... Casey
needs one RBI for 100 -- the first time he'd reach the mark. He had
99 in 1999.