Williams leads Pirates past Reds 5-0
CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevor Williams looked like himself on the mound.
He looked like somebody else at the plate.
Williams pitched six effective innings and drove in two runs, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the sloppy Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Sunday.
“He was just efficient,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “His fastball was his go-to pitch today. He had excellent command.”
Williams picked up where he left off last season, when he was the only major leaguer to make 10 starts of at least six innings without allowing a run. The right-hander gave up three hits, struck out six and walked one.
Williams said he benefited from watching Jameson Taillon’s six-plus innings in Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Reds on opening day.
“We just stuck with the game plan,” Williams said. “I watched what (Taillon) did and we carried that over.”
The Reds put runners on the corners with two out in the sixth, but Williams struck out Yasiel Puig to end the inning. Puig is 0 for 7 with four strikeouts and a walk in two games after he was acquired in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Puig also misjudged Francisco Cervelli’s fly ball to right in the ninth inning, but recovered in time to make a diving catch.
Adam Frazier and Melky Cabrera each had two hits as Pittsburgh earned its first win of the season. Saturday’s game was postponed by rain.
Sonny Gray struggled in his Cincinnati debut, allowing three runs, two earned, and five hits in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked four and struck out none.
“I didn’t throw strikes from the get go,” said Gray, a Nashville native who grew up following the Reds. “I just didn’t throw enough strikes. It was an opportunity, and I didn’t throw strikes.”
Gray (0-1) was acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Yankees, and then agreed to a new contract with Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh jumped in front on Josh Bell’s RBI single in the first. The run was unearned after Starling Marte reached when Gray dropped a relay to first for the first of four errors for the Reds.
Williams drove in Cabrera with a lunging single in the second for his second career RBI. He entered the season with a .082 career batting average.
“(Gray) blew me up on that one,” Williams said. “It was a hard sinker in. That one hurt my hands.”
Williams (1-0) made it 3-0 by working a bases-loaded walk in the third.
Not even Hurdle saw that coming.
“Just a good day of baseball for us — defense, pitching, and we continually put pressure on the other team,” Hurdle said. “I didn’t have Williams driving in two runs before the game.”
Corey Dickerson drove in two more runs against Cincinnati. He has 32 RBIs in 34 career games against the Reds.
LIKING CINCINNATI II
Williams improved to 4-1 in nine career games against the Reds. Each of his three RBIs has come against Cincinnati.
The last time the Reds committed four errors in one game was July 3 against the White Sox.
Pirates: RHP Jordan Lyles, plagued with right side discomfort, has rejoined the team and is scheduled to start on Thursday against Cincinnati.
Reds: LHP Alex Wood remains in Arizona while trying to come back from lower back stiffness. Manager David Bell labeled a possible mid-April comeback “aggressive.”
Pirates: RHP Chris Archer starts Pittsburgh’s home opener against St. Louis.
Reds: RHP Tanner Roark pitches Monday against Milwaukee. It’s his first start for Cincinnati after he was acquired in an offseason trade with Washington.