PITTSBURGH -- Masked by the team's thrilling walk-off victory on Saturday was another so-so outing by right-hander Daniel McCutchen, who is still trying to prove that he deserves a long-term spot in the big league rotation.

McCutchen finished just four innings (75 pitches) and allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks. It was a step forward from a disastrous season debut, but certainly not what the Pirates were expecting from a pitcher who has made his mark as a strike thrower and innings eater in the Minors.

"I'm just going through a little rough patch," McCutchen said after Saturday's start. "It's not the first time in my career and it's not going to be the last time that I struggle. Times like these are when you learn to be a good pitcher. You build character when you are able to learn to be a good pitcher, when you're struggling. I plan on learning from my mistakes."

His biggest mistake on Saturday was in pitch selection. From the get-go, McCutchen showed little trust with his fastball against the Reds and relied too heavily on his offspeed pitches to get him through. By never establishing his fastball command, McCutchen found himself consistently plagued by deep counts and unable to keep the Cincinnati offense guessing.

"That's something that I'll work on," McCutchen said of the unsuccessful game plan. "All of my pitches haven't been as good as they need to be. I'm still a contact guy. I'm still a no-walk guy. I just had two hiccups in a row. I'm not going to sweat it."

With Ross Ohlendorf on the disabled list, McCutchen will stay in the Pirates' normal rotation for now. His next scheduled start will come on Thursday against the Brewers.