August 28 - Game One
Reds: In 4 1/3 innings against Atlanta on Thursday, Ramirez gave up five earned runs and five hits with four walks and one strikeout, and he left blowing a 5-1 lead to the Braves. The Reds rebounded to win the game, 9-7, in 12 innings. Ramirez hurt himself with back-to-back one-out walks in the fifth, before giving up Chipper Jones' three-run homer that tied the game.
Pirates: Gorzelanny has come on strong in August, winning three of his past four starts while posting a 2.67 ERA. He won a lopsided game against the Rockies on Wednesday, taking 11 runs of support from the Pirates' season-high six home runs and stifling Colorado at Coors Field, allowing just one earned run on six hits and three walks while striking out five in six innings. Gorzelanny is now 8-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 14 road starts this season and is undefeated against National League West opponents, boasting a 5-0 record and a 2.27 ERA in seven starts against the division.
August 28 - Game Two
Reds: It took Arroyo 34 pitches to get through the first inning, but he finished 5 1/3 innings for a 4-2 win over the Braves on Wednesday. The right-hander, pitching in high 90s temperatures, gave up two earned runs -- both on home runs -- and six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Brian McCann snapped a scoreless game in the Atlanta fourth with a leadoff homer to right field. Arroyo's last batter, Andruw Jones, hit a solo homer to left field in the sixth. Arroyo also got a key single in the fifth that scored two runs.
Pirates: Maholm was in rare form against the Rockies on Thursday, holding them to one run in seven innings to secure the series win. He threw all his pitches for strikes, and he was especially effective with his sinker. He took command by throwing first-pitch strikes and getting ahead early in counts, forcing the Rockies to expand the strike zone. Maholm gave the Pirates seven innings, scattering seven hits and two walks while striking out five. He escaped his only serious threat -- a first-and-second, no-outs situation with a one-run lead -- by striking out the side in the second.
Reds: Harang allowed three earned runs and eight hits over seven innings with one walk and five strikeouts in the Reds' 5-3 win over the Marlins on Friday. Over the right-hander's 14 starts, Cincinnati is 13-1. Harang has 16 quality starts this season, and he became the first Reds pitcher since Tom Seaver in 1981 to win 13 of his first 16 decisions.
Pirates: Though he didn't factor in the decision in his last start, on Friday against the Astros, Snell continues to be a rock in the Pirates' rotation. With yet another quality outing, he showed superb command of his fastball and slider to keep the Astros off-balance all night. In five of his seven innings of work, Snell faced the minimum, and overall he showed very solid efficiency with his pitch count. This will be Snell's fourth start against the Reds this season. He has a 1-2 record and a 4.26 ERA through the first three outings.
Reds: Belisle pitched seven solid innings before tiring in the eighth on Saturday against Florida in his first start since Aug. 10, as he had been down in Triple-A Louisville. He returned to replace ineffective left-hander Phil Dumatrait in the rotation and responded by racking up a career-high nine strikeouts before giving up three runs without retiring any of three batters he faced in the eighth.
Pirates: The Pirates have learned that they can count on a few things when Morris takes the mound: He will pitch deep into the game, and he will keep his team in it. Also, after working to use his height to get more leverage on his sinker, Morris has been able to rely less on his breaking ball and mix that sinker into his combination of pitches more frequently, producing improved results. His fastball command has also been extremely sharp lately. In two starts against the Reds this season, Morris is 0-1 with a 7.30 ERA.