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Reds, Pirates go at it again at PNC Park

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cincinnati Reds hope that Alfredo Simon can continue his surprising start to the season on Wednesday night in the third contest of a four-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Inserted into the rotation after Mat Latos was lost due to injury, Simon is 2-1 with a 0.86 earned run average through three starts. That's a nice boost from a hurler who has made just 22 career starts in 180 appearances.

The veteran righty has yielded just two earned runs over 21 innings this season and beat the Chicago Cubs on Friday. He was charged with one unearned run on four hits and two walks in six-plus innings.

Simon, 32, has never started against the Pirates, but is 1-3 against them in 14 relief appearances with a 2.53 ERA.

Charlie Morton takes aim at his first victory of the season as he gets set to make his fifth start. The right-hander has logged back-to-back defeats following a pair of no-decisions.

Morton is coming off a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, when he allowed five runs for the second time in three starts. The 30-year-old also was charged with eight hits and two walks over six innings, lifting his season ERA to 4.32.

Morton is 5-6 lifetime versus the Reds with a 4.09 ERA in 14 starts.

The Reds drew even in this series with Tuesday's 4-1 win as Johnny Cueto shut down the Pirates for a second straight start.

Six days after tossing a three-hit shutout against Pittsburgh, Cueto (2-2) was just as stingy against the NL Central rivals before Andrew McCutchen belted a solo home run in the ninth inning.

Cueto, who was working on 21 consecutive scoreless innings prior to the blast, still finished off his eighth career complete having allowed just three hits and three walks while adding an RBI single in the ninth for good measure.

"Other than (McCutchen's home run) he was flawless," Brayan Pena said of Cueto.

Pena and Jay Bruce both had two hits, a run scored and another driven in for the Reds, winners in five of their last seven games.

Pittsburgh fell for the ninth time in the last 12 games despite a strong outing by Edinson Volquez (1-1), who matched Cueto before blinking in the seventh.

"(Cueto's) been really tough," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's excellent on both sides of the plate."

The Reds won two of three versus the Pirates at home last week.

04/23 10:30:52 ET