PITTSBURGH (AP) — At the end of a long and otherwise unsuccessful night, Travis Snider gave the Pirates something to smile about.
Pittsburgh’s reserve outfielder made his first major league mound appearance in ninth inning mop-up duty, allowing two runs, but striking out 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto on a 2-2 changeup to end the inning in the Pirates’ 11-4 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday night.
Alfredo Simon became the NL’s first 10-game winner and Billy Hamilton had three hits and three RBIs for the Reds.
Snider became the first position player to pitch for the Pirates since utility man James Harrison last Aug. 9 at Colorado. The last Pittsburgh position player to take the mound in a home game was infielder Abraham Nunez in 2004.
“In a situation like that, the competitive juices take over and you just want to compete, get out of that inning without another guy having to take the ball,” Snider said. “It was a little tough on the ERA, but it was a lot of fun.”
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,” Cincinnati manager Bryan 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.”
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.
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.
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.
The Reds broke open the game with a seven-run third inning, sending 12 men to the plate to take an 8-0 lead.
NOTES: 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.