CINCINNATI - Mat Latos has dominated Pittsburgh on the mound throughout his career.
On Friday night, he also did damage at the plate.
Latos pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and hit a two-run homer as the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds opened a three-game series against their closest pursuers with a 3-0 win over the Pirates.
Perhaps the only person happier than Latos was Reds manager Dusty Baker.
"It was Latos' night, hitting and pitching," Baker said.
Chris Heisey hustled for an inside-the-park home run and Aroldis Chapman closed out the win that gave the Reds a 4-game lead over the Pirates.
The Reds have won 14 of 15 and moved 24 games over .500 for the first time since 1999. They are 15-3 since All-Star first baseman Joey Votto left the lineup with a torn meniscus in his left knee that required surgery and 3-0 since second baseman Brandon Phillips was sidelined with a strained left calf. Phillips is expected to start Saturday, Baker said.
Latos (10-3) allowed four hits in 7 1-3 innings. Jonathan Broxton got a key double play to end the eighth and Chapman recorded his 24th save.
Latos hit his third career home run, connecting in the fifth against Wandy Rodriguez (7-10).