CINCINNATI (AP) -- A Pirates bullpen missing its closer managed to pull one out.
Xavier Nady homered twice and drove in four runs Wednesday night, setting up a 9-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds shortly after Pittsburgh lost yet another pitcher to injury.Closer Matt Capps will be gone for about eight weeks after a medical test detected bursitis and tightness in his pitching shoulder. Capps is the fourth Pittsburgh pitcher to wind up on the disabled list in the last two weeks.The rest of the bullpen came through, helping the Pirates win back-to-back road games for only the second time this season."Everybody was disappointed in the situation," manager John Russell said, referring to Capps going on the disabled list. "They felt bad for him. He's a big part of our bullpen. He's not only the closer, but a leader out there."For one day, others led the way.Denny Bautista (1-0), obtained in a trade with Detroit last week, got the victory in relief of John Van Benschoten, who fizzled in his homecoming. Jay Bruce homered twice off Van Benschoten, a 2001 first-round draft pick who grew up in suburban Cincinnati admiring Pete Rose and the Bengals.Bautista allowed only one hit over 3 1/3 innings, giving Nady a chance to rally the Pirates."That was big, especially the way the games have been going all series, back-and-forth," Nady said. "We'd put up some runs and they'd matched us."Nady had a run-scoring single, a solo homer and a two-run shot off right-hander Daryl Thompson (0-2), who got hit hard in his third major league start. The 22-year-old rookie gave up seven runs in only 4 1/3 innings, repeatedly leaving his fastball over the middle of the plate."I felt like I was throwing a lot of strikes, but I didn't have anything on my fastball," Thompson said. "They came out swinging. I couldn't get it down in the zone, and they made me pay for it."By taking two of three in the series, the Pirates held onto fifth place in the NL Central and relegated the Reds to last.About two dozen of Van Benschoten's relatives and friends were in the stands for his first professional hometown appearance. It didn't start very well or last very long.Bruce led off the first with a homer, and Adam Dunn led off the second with his 21st homer. Bruce hit a three-run shot -- his sixth overall -- for a 5-4 lead in the second inning, emerging from his recent slump. In his first eight games, the rookie outfielder batted .552. In his last 26 games, he's batting .218.When Brandon Phillips doubled with one out in the third, Van Benschoten was finished. Russell took him out after 45 pitches. He didn't figure in the decision, leaving him 1-10 as a starter in his career.Like his counterpart, Van Benschoten left too many pitches over the middle of the plate. He wasn't particularly nervous about taking the mound in his hometown."Leading up to it, maybe," he said. "But not when I started to warm up."At the outset, it appeared Thompson would be the first to leave. He barely made it out of a four-run, 34-pitch first inning -- the bullpen was busy when he got the final out.Thompson gave up five consecutive hits to start the game, drawing jeers from the stands. Nate McLouth doubled on the opening pitch, Luis Rivas doubled, and Thompson yielded singles to Jason Bay, Ryan Doumit and Nady.Nady also hit a solo homer in the third and a two-run shot in the fifth that put Pittsburgh up 7-5 and added to his history at Great American Ball Park. The outfielder has hit safely in his last 12 games at the ballpark, where he is a .385 career hitter with eight homers."I don't know," Nady said of his Cincinnati success. "The guys in front of me had good at-bats. It was kind of contagious early on."Adam LaRoche also had a run-scoring triple for the Pirates, completing his slump-busting series. LaRoche went 7-for-11 in the three-game set with five RBIs. Jose Bautista added a solo homer in the ninth.
It was Nady's fifth career multihomer game and his second of the season. He also hit a pair on March 31 at Atlanta. ... Reds SS Alex Gonzalez is scheduled for surgery Monday on his left knee. He suffered a compression fracture at the start of spring training and has been sidelined all season. He'll miss the rest of the year. ... It was Bruce's first career multihomer game.