CINCINNATI (AP) — Michael Lorenzen’s longest outing in three years reminded him why he enjoys starting so much.
The right-hander singled home a run and got his first victory as a starter since 2015, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory Saturday that ended their seven-game losing streak against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pittsburgh has dominated the Ohio River rivalry, going 13-5 this season. The seven-game winning streak was the Pirates’ longest against the Reds since 1991.
Pittsburgh was blanked for the 17th time, most in the NL and tied with Detroit for most in the majors.
The Reds let Lorenzen (4-2) finish the season with three starts after 42 relief appearances, providing a chance for him to join the competition for next year’s rotation. He went 5 2/3 innings — his longest appearance since he was a rookie starter in 2015 — and gave up five hits.
Lorenzen used all his pitches, something he doesn’t need in relief. He threw 73 in all.
“I was using, really, three variations of a fastball, and that’s why I love starting,” he said. “I have those three variations. Then I started throwing the curveball in the sixth, and they hadn’t seen that yet. I started throwing the changeup, and they hadn’t seen that yet.”
David Hernandez escaped a bases-loaded threat in the sixth. Raisel Iglesias got his 30th save in 34 chances.
Lorenzen also had a run-scoring single , finishing his season at the plate with a flourish. Lorenzen batted .300 with one double, four homers and 10 RBIs in 30 at-bats as a pitcher or pinch hitter.
Eugenio Suarez homered for the second straight game off Jameson Taillon (14-10), pulling out of his slump. His two-run shot on Friday night was his first homer and RBI since Sept. 10.
Taillon — the second overall pick in the 2010 draft — made it through a full season for the first time. He missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery and a sports hernia. Last year, he had surgery for testicular cancer in May.
“None of us can appreciate what he went through,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “There’s different levels of respect, and I’m sure for his teammates it’s at the highest level.”
Taillon finished the season with a streak of 22 starts allowing three earned runs or less, one shy of Bob Friend’s single-season club record from 1963.
“It’s been a crazy dream,” Taillon said.
Pittsburgh’s Jung Ho Kang started at third base — the first time he had been in a major league lineup in two years. He has a single in four at-bats.
The 31-year-old infielder hadn’t played in the majors since September 2016 because of visa issues related to DUI arrests in his native South Korea. Earlier this season, he played in the Pirates’ minor league system before a left wrist injury required surgery. The Pirates decided to add him to the roster for the final series.
Hurdle took Corey Dickerson out of the game after his single in the sixth inning raised his average to .300, which the manager considered a good stopping point for the outfielder.
“He would never take himself out of the lineup,” Hurdle said. “He earned it.”
Lorenzen went 3 for 12 as a pinch hitter with two homers and five RBIs. When batting as a pitcher, he was 6 for 18 with two homers and five RBIs.
The Reds are 64-79 since April 19, when manager Bryan Price was fired and Jim Riggleman took over on an interim basis. He is one of the candidates for the job moving ahead.
Pirates: Right fielder Adam Frazier left in the fourth inning with a tight right hamstring. … Shortstop Jordy Mercer left in the fifth with a sore right forearm.
Reds: Scooter Gennett was out of the lineup with a sore right biceps. Gennett leads the NL in three-hit games and ranks fourth with a .310 batting average. “It’s nothing serious, but with where we are in the season, it would be stupid to go out and make it worse,” Gennett said.
Pirates: Clay Holmes (1-3) makes his first start since Aug. 10. He has pitched out of the bullpen his last five appearances.
Reds: Sal Romano (8-11) has divided time between the bullpen and rotation. He makes his 25th start after 12 straight relief appearances.