PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bryan Price put his faith in Alfredo Simon at the start of the season. The Cincinnati Reds manager has been rewarded — and then some.
Simon became the NL’s first 10-game winner and Billy Hamilton had three hits and three RBIs in the Reds’ 11-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
Simon (10-3) allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in 6 1-3 innings to break a tie with the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke and Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright for the NL lead in victories.
Simon went to spring training as a relief pitcher and moved into the starting rotation when Mat Latos was recovering from elbow and knee surgeries.
“I had a lot of confidence that he would do well as a starter and give us a consistent effort, but I don’t think anyone expects to take a pitcher out of the bullpen, put him in the rotation, and see him have 10 wins in the middle of June,” Price said. “He’s obviously done a great job.”
Simon started 16 games with the Baltimore Orioles in 2011, but all 99 of his appearances with the Reds in 2012-13 were in relief.
“It feels really good to have 10 wins, but I have confidence in myself,” Simon said. “I felt I could do a really good job and win a lot of games as a starter. I’m thankful for the opportunity and am trying to make the most of it.”
Brandon Phillips, Skip Schumaker and Zack Cozart each had two of the Reds’ 14 hits in the game, which was delayed 1 hour, 15 minutes by rain in the bottom of the seventh inning. Schumaker also had three RBIs in helping Cincinnati win for the sixth time in seven games.
Pittsburgh’s Gregory Polanco went 2 for 4 and became the second player in Pirates’ history — joining Spencer Adams (1923) — to have a hit in each of his first eight major league games.
Edinson Volquez (4-6) was tagged for eight runs in 2 2-3 innings after going 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in his previous five starts.
“The game got away from us tonight and we weren’t able to recover,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Pirates reserve outfielder Travis Snider pitched the ninth inning in his first major league appearance on the mound. He allowed two runs, but struck out 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto on a 2-2 changeup to end the inning.
Andrew McCutchen had his 12-game hitting streak end as he went 0 for 3 before being pulled after six innings with Pittsburgh trailing 9-1. Starling Marte had two hits while running his hitting streak to nine games.
The Reds broke open the game in the third inning, sending 12 men to the plate.
Phillips doubled in the first run and another scored on a wild pitch by Volquez before Schumaker and Cozart hit consecutive RBI singles to make it 5-0.
The Reds’ next run came on a disputed call and resulted in Hurdle’s ejection. Simon hit a nubber to the left of the mound with the bases loaded that right-hander Stolmy Pimentel, who had just relieved Volquez, made a diving play on and then flipped the ball to catcher Russell Martin at home plate for an apparent force out on Devin Mesoraco.
Mesoraco, however, was ruled safe following a 3-minute, 33-second video review in which it was determined that Martin had illegally blocked home plate.
“I really don’t know what else (Martin) could have done there because you have to put your foot on the plate when there’s a force play,” said Mesoraco, the Reds’ catcher. “There wasn’t any intent on his part to do something not in the rules.”
Hamilton followed with a two-run single that capped the inning.
- Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole threw a 60-pitch simulated game Wednesday the first time he faced batters since going on the 15-day disabled list June 4 with right shoulder fatigue.
- Cincinnati RF Ryan Ludwick was rested despite going 7 for 12 in the previous three games. He was replaced by Schumaker.
- Reds RHP Homer Bailey (7-3, 4.68) faces LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 3.96) in the finale of the three-gamer series on Thursday.