Nova, Kang lead Bucs past Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Harrison slides safely into home past the tag of Cincinnati Reds' Tucker Barnhart during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ivan Nova pitched a six-hitter to stay unbeaten with Pittsburgh and Jung Ho Kang hit a two-run double to key a three-run first inning as the Pirates defeated Cincinnati 4-1 on Thursday night, extending the Reds’ losing streak to five games.

Nova (12-6) pitched his second complete game in seven starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees in a trade on Aug. 1. He struck out four, walked none, got 15 of his outs on ground balls and retired the first 12 batters while throwing 94 pitches.

Nova improved to 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts with the Pirates. He has issued just two walks in 46 2/3 innings.

Kang’s double opened the scoring and he came home on a single by Francisco Cervelli as the Pirates took an early 3-0 lead against Dan Straily (11-8).

Kang is 7 for 13 with seven RBIs in four games since being activated from the disabled list on Monday after missing 15 days with a sore left shoulder.

The Pirates, still on the fringe of the National League wild card race, won their second straight following an eight-game losing streak. They began a stretch of 15 consecutive games against teams with losing records.

Clint Hurdle, in his sixth season, became the sixth manager in Pirates’ history to win 500 games.

The Reds dropped to 57-82, clinching their third consecutive losing season and 14th in the last 17 years.

Josh Harrison hit two doubles for the Pirates. David Freese and Cervelli had two hits each.

Zack Cozart singled in the Reds’ lone run in the sixth. Andrew McCutchen countered with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.

Straily gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked three.


Reds: CF Billy Hamilton (strained oblique) missed his fourth straight game with a strained oblique and stayed behind in Cincinnati to receive treatment. . RHP Homer Bailey (biceps tendinitis) has not started since Aug. 28 but the Reds hold out hope he will be able to return this season.

Pirates: CF Starling Marte (back spasms) missed his third straight game. . RHP A.J. Schugel (sore shoulder) hasn’t pitched since Aug. 30 and there is no timetable for the reliever’s return.


RHP Drew Hutchison will make his Pirates’ debut Saturday night when he starts in place of RHP Chad Kuhl against the Reds. The Pirates acquired Hutchison from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade on Aug. 1 and he was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in seven games, including six starts, for Triple-A Indianapolis before being recalled Tuesday.