Cueto throws 3rd shutout as Reds beat Pirates 4-0

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at Great American Ball Park.

David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI (AP) — Johnny Cueto pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the playoffs, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Cincinnati Reds over the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 Wednesday for their first winning series this season.

Cueto (1-2) had his way with the lineup that beat him 6-2 in the NL wild card playoff at PNC Park last year. He limited the Pirates to three hits and struck out a career-high 12 during his first shutout since 2011.

Several Pirates questioned called third strikes by Quinn Wolcott, a Triple-A umpire called up to the majors. Eight of Cueto’s strikeouts were called.

After the NL Central rivals combined for 13 homers while splitting the first two games, Votto supplied the one that broke open the deciding game.