Reds send Pirates to seventh straight loss

CINCINNATI -- The Pittsburgh Pirates passed a couple of miserable milestones as they got closer to setting a record for losing.

Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs each homered Wednesday to help the Reds complete their first sweep of a four-game series in Cincinnati in more than 30 years, coming from behind for a 5-3 win over the Pirates.

"It's hard to sweep a team in four games," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You don't see that much."

The Reds swept Pittsburgh in four games at home for the first time since Aug. 14-17, 1975, and sent the Pirates to their seventh consecutive loss, one short of their season high. Pittsburgh is three losses from becoming the first major American professional franchise with 17 consecutive losing seasons.

Cincinnati's last sweep of any four against Pittsburgh was July 2-5, 1992, the last year the Pirates finished with a winning record.

The loss also was Pittsburgh's 11th straight on the road, leaving manager John Russell looking forward to getting home, even though the Pirates (53-79) open a three-game series against Central Division-leading St. Louis on Friday. Pittsburgh is 35-29 at PNC Park.

"We'll be all right," Russell said. "We play good at home. Turn the page."

Reds starter Homer Bailey set a career high in strikeouts for the second straight start, fanning eight in 6 1/3 innings. Bailey (5-4) allowed three runs on seven hits.

"I've got to credit our offense," Bailey said. "I'm glad they had my back. The bullpen came in and did a good job, and any time your teammates play like that, you've got to give credit to them."

Arthur Rhodes and Nick Masset combined to retire five consecutive batters -- four on strikeouts -- before Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 30th save.

Garrett Jones and Brandon Moss homered for the Pirates but starter Zach Duke couldn't hold a 3-2 sixth inning lead.

Stubbs, who hit three home runs while spending most of the season at Triple-A Louisville, led off the sixth with his fourth homer since joining the Reds on Aug. 19.

Paul Janish reached on an error by third baseman Neil Walker, making his first career start, and Joey Votto -- who got Tuesday off -- snapped a career-high 0 for 16 slump with a ground-rule double to center field.

"That was big for Joey," Baker said. "The day off helped Joey. His concentration and focus seemed [more] like Joey. When he has that, he's as good as there is around."

Phillips grounded out to second to drive in Janish with the go-ahead run. After Jonny Gomes grounded out to drawn-in shortstop Ronny Cedeno, Darnell McDonald hit an infield single to Cedeno, safely sliding in headfirst at first base as Votto crossed the plate.

Duke (10-13) lasted six innings, allowing nine hits and five runs -- three earned -- with one walk and four strikeouts.

"It was all right," Duke said. "Obviously, that sixth inning bit me. I left a couple of pitches out there, and they made me pay for it."

Phillips hit a two-out single to give the Reds a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Jones led off the second with his 18th homer of the season, most among major league rookies.

Phillips responded with his 19th homer of the season -- an opposite-field solo shot into the visitors' bullpen down the right field line -- to give the Reds a 2-1 lead in the fourth, but Moss tied it again by leading off the fifth with his seventh homer of the season.

The Pirates went ahead on back-to-back doubles by Lastings Milledge and Ryan Doumit with two outs in the sixth inning.

Game notes
Jones's home run was the 10,000th in the 123-year history of the Pittsburgh franchise. The Pirates are the 14th of the 16 pre-expansion teams to reach 10,000 homers. ... The Reds promoted left-handed pitcher Pedro Viola from Triple-A Louisville. To make room for Viola on their 40-man roster, the Reds transferred infielder Danny Richar from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day list on Wednesday. The Reds are scheduled to play 17 consecutive days starting Friday, their longest stretch of the season. ... Cincinnati 3B Scott Rolen did not start Wednesday, but entered in a double switch in the seventh.