The right-hander worked 6 1/3 innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds
to an 11-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
Simon (10-3) allowed three runs and five hits while walking three
and striking out five before being lifted after a 1-hour, 15-minute
rain delay. He broke a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Zack
Greinke and the St. Louis Cardinals' Adam Wainwright for the NL lead
At the start of spring training, Simon was ticketed for the bullpen.
However, manager Bryan Price gave him a chance to start with
right-hander Mat Latos on the disabled list while recovering from
elbow and knee injuries.
"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."
Simon has exceeded Price's expectations.
"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," Price said. "He's obviously
done a great job."
Center fielder Billy Hamilton led the Reds' 14-hit attack with three
hits and three RBIs.
Left fielder Skip Schumaker had two hits and three RBIs, and second
baseman Brandon Phillips and shortstop Zack Cozart added two hits
Schumaker hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning to open the
scoring, an RBI single during a seven-run third inning and a
run-scoring single in the fourth.
Right fielder Gregory Polanco became just the second player in
Pirates history to record hits in eight consecutive games to open
his major league career, joining Spencer Adams, who did so in 1923.
Polanco, who went 2-for-4, drove in the Pirates' first run with a
fifth-inning single after they Pittsburgh fell behind 9-0.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen had his 12-game hitting
streak end. He went 0-for-3 before being pulled after six innings
with Pittsburgh trailing 9-1 and on its way to a third straight
Right-hander 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
Reserve outfielder Travis Snider pitched the ninth inning for the
Pirates, allowing two runs on a double by Hamilton and groundout by
third baseman Todd Frazier. Snider did strike out first baseman Joey
"A lot of good pitchers haven't struck out Votto," Pirates manager
Clint Hurdle said. "Snider, he's got that ball. He's going to hang
on to it for a while."
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The Pirates got all their runs after falling behind 9-0. In addition
to Polanco's RBI single, left fielder Starling Marte drove in a run
with a groundout in the sixth inning, and pinch hitter Jose Tabata
hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh and an RBI single in the ninth.
The Reds broke the game open with the big third inning in which they
sent 12 men to the plate.
Phillips doubled home the inning's first run and another scored on a
wild pitch by Volquez before Schumaker and Cozart hit consecutive
RBI singles to make it 5-0.
The Reds' next run came in controversial fashion and resulted in
Hurdle's ejection. Simon hit a nubber to the left of the mound with
the bases loaded. Pirates right-hander Stolmy Pimentel, who had just
relieved Volquez, made a diving play, then flipped the ball to
catcher Russell Martin at home plate for an apparent forceout on
catcher Devin Mesoraco.
However, Mesoraco was ruled safe following a 3 minute, 33-second
video review in which it was determined Martin illegally blocked
Hamilton followed with a two-run single that capped the inning and
increased Cincinnati's lead to 8-0.
NOTES: Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle reiterated before the game
that RHP Jason Grilli would remain the closer despite a recent rough
stretch that saw him give up a game-winning home run to Cincinnati
3B Todd Frazier on Tuesday night and retire just one of six batters
last Friday at Miami. ... Reds LF Ryan Ludwick was rested despite
going 8-for-12 in his last three games. OF Skip Schumaker started in
Ludwick's place. ... The three-game series concludes Thursday with
Reds RHP Homer Bailey (7-3, 4.68 ERA) facing Pirates LHP Jeff Locke
(0-1, 3.98 ERA).
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