Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips hits an RBI single off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole in the fifth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo
April 09, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) Raisel Iglesias is growing into his role of ace-by-default.

The right-hander made another solid start, and Eugenio Suarez drove in three runs with a single and a homer as the Cincinnati Reds sent the Pittsburgh Pirates to their first loss, 5-1 on Saturday.

Suarez had an RBI single in the first and a two-run homer in the seventh off Kyle Lobstein, his team-leading third of the season. He also scored three times.

Iglesias (1-0) gave up a run and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He was moved to the front of the rotation when injuries sent four starters to the disabled list. So far, he looks like he belongs there.

''It's been a really good thing,'' Iglesias said through the team's translator. ''I've been working hard in the off-season and in spring training with the coaches. It's exciting.''

At 4-0, Pittsburgh was off to its best start since 2003. The Pirates also had their top starter making his debut - Gerrit Cole (0-1) was pushed back in the rotation after developing a sore ribcage during spring training. He still couldn't beat the Reds.

Cole won 19 games last season and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting, but failed to beat the Reds in four starts, going 0-3 with a 5.95 ERA. Over his career, he's 0-5 in seven starts against them.

''Overall, pretty subpar,'' said Cole, who gave up three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. ''I wasn't over-excited. I just tried to make pitches. I was just a little rusty. I'm going to have to do a little work.''

It was 38 degrees at the first pitch with a wind chill of 25. Light snow fell during the game, which featured a Reds blanket giveaway. Many of the 22,799 fans were wrapped in them.

It didn't go well for Cole at the outset. He allowed three hits in his first 11 pitches, including Suarez's RBI single. Jay Bruce's one-out single made it 2-0. After the ragged start, he settled in and retired nine in a row.

The Reds got Suarez from Detroit in the 2014 trade for Alfredo Simon, who rejoined Cincinnati this year. Suarez has been one of the bright spots in Cincinnati's 4-1 start, moving from shortstop to fill the opening at third base after Todd Frazier was traded.

''I think he's already special, not just because of what he's doing offensively, but the way he transitioned from being an everyday shortstop to playing third base,'' manager Bryan Price said. ''He's looking good. I think he's a dynamic defender.''

Iglesias allowed at least one runner in each of the first four innings, but was bailed out by a pair of double plays, including one with the bases loaded. The Pirates stranded four runners in scoring position in those four innings.

BEST BUCS STARTS

The Pirates' best start was 10-0 in 1962. They opened 7-0 in 1938, and 5-0 three other times - 1902, 1976 and 1983.

HARRISON DAY

The University of Cincinnati honored former Bearcat Josh Harrison with a poster giveaway for its baseball game against Connecticut on Saturday. The Pirates second baseman grew up in Cincinnati.

PIRATES LOSE REVIEW

John Jaso was called out while trying to get back to second base in the seventh inning. The Pirates challenged, but the call was upheld after a 2-minute, 59-second review.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: Cole threw 100 pitches in his first start, 62 for strikes.

Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips was in the lineup for the second straight day after missing two games with a stomach ailment. He singled home a run.

UP NEXT

Pirates: Jeff Locke makes his first start. He's 3-3 career against the Reds in 11 starts with a 3.32 ERA. He was 1-2 in four starts against them last season, giving up 10 earned runs in 21 innings.

Reds: RH Tim Melville makes his major league debut, the second Reds starter to do so in the opening week along with Robert Stephenson. The 26-year-old Melville has played in the Royals' and Tigers' farm systems and signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati last November.

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