After winning three of its last four games, Pittsburgh lost, 9-1.
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Adam Dunn hit his 40th homer and Javier Valentin connected in consecutive at-bats, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Kyle Lohse pitched seven strong innings and Ryan Freel hit a leadoff homer for the Reds, who had lost four of five and began the day 4 1/2 games behind NL wild-card leader San Diego.
Dunn became the second player in Reds history to hit at least 40 home runs in three consecutive seasons. Ted Kluszewski (1953-1955) was the first.
Valentin snapped a 1-1 tie with his seventh homer of the season, an opposite-field shot to left leading off the fourth inning. The Cincinnati catcher followed in the sixth with a two-run line drive into the visitors' bullpen down the right-field line.
Valentin's home runs off Pirates starter Ian Snell were his first since his last start, against Pittsburgh on Aug. 18 in a 7-3 Pirates win. Snell also was the Pittsburgh starter in that game, but reliever Britt Reames allowed Valentin's homer.
Lohse (2-2) snapped his two-game skid. He allowed seven hits and one run with one walk and six strikeouts.
Snell (12-10) has lost his last two starts after logging three wins and a no-decision in his previous four. He allowed seven hits and four runs with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
The nine runs were the most for the Reds in 15 games since they beat Houston 14-0 on Aug. 22.
Sanchez shut out
National League batting leader Freddy Sanchez (.341) went 0-for-4 for the Pirates, who had won three of their last four games.
Freel led off the first inning with his eighth home run. Ryan Doumit tied it with a solo homer in the second, his third of the season -- all since he was activated from the disabled list on Aug. 23 after missing almost three months with a torn left hamstring.
Dunn hit a two-run homer and Scott Hatteberg added a two-run single as the Reds sent 10 batters to the plate against three Pittsburgh relievers in a five-run seventh inning.
The Reds had at least one baserunner in every inning against Snell, while the Pirates had at least one baserunner in every inning except the third against Lohse.
Freel's leadoff homer was his third this season and the fourth of his career. The homer was his first in 156 at-bats dating to July 22, when he hit two in an 8-7 win over Milwaukee. ... Pittsburgh's Carlos Maldonado singled in the ninth inning for his first major league hit.