PITTSBURGH (AP) — This trade was too good for Joey Votto to turn down.
The Cincinnati Reds star first baseman spotted a fan sitting along the first base line Monday at PNC Park wearing a T-shirt that read “Votto for President.” It was from a Nike promotional campaign in 2012 and Votto hadn’t kept any of the shirts.
Votto got the shirt, but wound up with little else, shut down by Trevor Williams and the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1.
In the middle of the fourth inning, Votto walked over to the fan and asked for the shirt, offering an autographed jersey in return. The man agreed and the suddenly bare-chested fan and Votto exchanged first bumps along with Labor Day gifts.
“I was trying to find (the T-shirt) for a while and I was excited to see if I could trade a jersey for a shirt and he obliged,” Votto said.
“He was willing to take his shirt off in the middle of the stands and thanks to him for being willing to do that,” he said.
That was the highlight of the day for Votto, who went 1 for 4 and grounded into a double play as the Reds lost for the ninth time in 12 games.
Trevor Williams (12-9) continued his stretch of strong starts by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed five hits while striking out four and walking one.
Williams improved to 6-2 with a 0.66 ERA in his last nine starts, giving up four runs in 54 2/3 innings. It was his ninth outing of at least five innings without allowing a run this season.
“It’s trusting my stuff and being able to put the fastball where I want to put it,” Williams said. “We go into every start knowing the fastball command is going to be there and everything comes off that. It’s fun to throw the ball to all four quadrants of the strike zone.”
Adam Frazier had career high-tying four hits, including a solo home run off Matt Harvey (6-8) in the first and a two-run single in the seventh that stretched the Pirates’ lead to 5-0. Frazier also had a double and three RBIs.
Pittsburgh’s Gregory Polanco and Cincinnati’s Scooter Gennett homered and had two hits each.
Polanco hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning that made it 3-0.
Gennett, the NL batting leader with a .320 average, broke up the Pirates’ shutout bid with a solo drive off Kyle Crick in the eighth. Gennett also doubled in the first inning, but Williams worked out of a second-and-third jam with one out by striking Eugenio Suarez and getting Scott Schebler to fly out.
“He’s kind of like the guy who can get you a stolen base when you need a stolen base,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said of Williams. “He had four strikeouts today, but he can get you a punchout when you need a punchout.”
Harvey surrendered three runs and seven hits in six innings with three strikeouts and no walks.
“It was one of those (starts) where you look back and the numbers obviously don’t go with how the game went but two pitches definitely cost me,” Harvey said.
Pirates: C Elias Diaz (strained right hamstring) missed his third straight game.
Reds SS Blake Trahan was 1 for 3 in his major league debut, hitting a single off Williams in the seventh inning. He was promoted from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday.
Reds: LHP Cody Reed (0-1, 3.26 ERA) will make his third start and 13th relief appearance of the season Tuesday night after limiting Milwaukee to one run in 4 2/3 innings in his last outing.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (5-8, 3.80 ERA) is 1-4 in his last six starts despite a 3.65 ERA.