The Reds' bats had cooled off as the club headed into Friday night's series opener against the Pirates. They hadn't scored in 14 innings, but snapping that streak wasn't enough to pull off the win as they fell, 6-5.
They'll look to bounce back from their second-straight loss as Johnny Cueto makes his third start of the season after allowing three runs after a 108-pitch, six-inning performance Thursday against the Nationals.
History will be on the Reds' side Saturday night, as Cueto has been stellar over his career against the Pirates, going 12-4 with 112 K's. The right-hander owns a career 2.54 ERA through 120 2/3 innings against the Pirates and controlled them through seven innings in their last matchup, giving up three runs off six hits.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he's certainly aware of the potential of the Reds' lineup heading into Saturday's game.
"There's a lot of power in that lineup. They can do a lot of damage in a hurry. And balanced power -- you had veteran guys who produced -- and now you added (Shin-Soo) Choo. It's a very powerful 1-3-4-5 you've got to reckon with."
That explosiveness at the plate is just what the Pirates have lacked this season.
Entering Saturday's game, the Bucs are last in the Majors in hits (54), but may have turned a corner following the three-RBI performance by Andrew McCutchen on Friday.
Pittsburgh will call Jeff Locke to the mound Saturday, aiming for their second series win this season.
The Bucs considered skipping his start until a hamstring injury to Wandy Rodriguez kept Locke in the spot. In his last start, Locke allowed four runs, eight hits, and a walk through six innings.
The Pirates lefty earned a no-decision in 4 2/3 innings pitched against the Reds in 2011. Locke gave up one run, six hits, and two walks as Pittsburgh lost that game, 4-3.
Pirates: Locke-ing down homers
Jeff Locke allowed allowed one homer in 27 1/3 innings in Spring Training and continued this trend in his first start of the season. Locke said the number doesn't mean too much to him at this point, but adds the Spring Training reps have been key to his success.
"It helped a lot," he said. I feel like I threw really well, and felt very confident coming into the season. The results for that first game don't change the kind of confidence you have in yourself."
Pirates: Morris gets shot
The Pirates shored up their bullpen before Friday's game, recalling right-hander Bryan Morris on Friday and designating pitcher Chris Leroux for assignment. The move was made after the Bucs lost confidence in Leroux. Hurdle noted that Morris' stint in the spot could be brief.
"We told Bryan it could be a while [or] it could be brief, and to just come in to compete and have fun with it," Hurdle said. "We could have another move sooner rather than later."
Reds: Leake a double-threat
Mike Leake's 46 career hits lead all MLB pitchers over the last four seasons. Leake has led the National League in batting average twice in his career and has six hits and a .200 average this season.
Reds: Building up the bullpen
With lefty Sean Marshall on the sidelines with shoulder issues, the Reds have recalled Logan Ondrusek from Double-A Pensacola. The right-hander has worked most of the past three seasons out of Cincinnati's bullpen, logging a 3.45 ERA through 174 2/3 innings.
"It's good to be back," Ondrusek said. "My last two outings of the spring I was starting to get back on track, and I went down there and threw a couple of bullpens and threw in a game three times, and everything seemed to line itself back up."
Ondrusek has pitched one inning for the Reds this season, giving up a two-run homer to Matt Carpenter in the club's 10-0 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Starting Saturday, the Bucs are slated to play 19 more games in 19 consecutive days until their next day off on May 2.
Gary Cotton is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.