CINCINNATI -- Kristopher Negron doesn't own a home run trot, it's more like a 360-foot dash. On Sunday, when his first major league home run cleared the fence, the Cincinnati Reds second baseman took no extra time to savor it, but his teammates did.
Negron's three-run homer started the scoring and third baseman Todd Frazier's two-run blast ended it, lifting Cincinnati to a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at stormy Great American Ball Park.
"I don't remember the last time I jogged after a home run," said Negron. "I sprint every one of them."
Despite a season-long bout with injury, Cincinnati (51-44) will take momentum into the All-Star break having won 16 of 23 games.
"The All-Star break couldn't come at a better time," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "There's no team more deserving of four days off than these guys."
Second baseman Neil Walker hit his 13th home run for Pittsburgh (49-46), which went 2-5 on its final road trip prior to the break.
"We weren't able to get that big swing today," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
Reds starter Johnny Cueto (10-6) allowed three earned runs and five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
"He was able to cool down (during the rain delay)," said Price. "He took advantage of that hour. He usually rights the ship."
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano (1-7) was reinstated from the disabled list Sunday and made his first start since suffering an oblique strain June 10. He walked six in three innings while allowing three earned runs.
"I was a little excited going out to pitch," Liriano said. "I tried to do too much. It's not easy. You try to say calm and not do too much and hit your spots. I'll learn from my mistakes and try to get better."
With runners on first and third in the second, Negron launched a 1-1 pitch from Liriano to the opposite field, putting Cincinnati ahead 3-0.
Liriano said he tried to throw a changeup down and away to Negron, but it stayed in the middle and up.
"(Reds hitting coach) Donny Long told me to look for a pitch up and over the plate," Negron said. "I was trying to put a good swing on it and I was able to give it a ride toward right."
The Reds sent nine batters to the plate in the second, helping push Liriano's pitch-count to 60 through three innings.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen tripled and scored the Pirates' first run on a groundout in the fourth.
Cincinnati had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth, but Liriano struck out Frazier and left fielder Chris Heisey to end the inning. Heisey would go 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
Cueto struggled with his control in the fifth when he walked two batters.
Following a 56-minute rain delay, Pirates left fielder Josh Harrison's two-out double drove home third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who had walked, making the score 3-2.
Catcher Devin Mesoraco's RBI double put Cincinnati back up by two. But, Walker's solo homer off Cueto cut the Pirates' deficit to 4-3 in the sixth.
"He battled to get out of the last inning," said Mesoraco of Cueto. "We all expect that from Johnny."
With one out in the sixth, Frazier launched Vance Worley's first pitch just inside the right-field foul pole making the score 6-3.
"We came in and looked at Frazier's home run. That was a good piece of hitting," said Hurdle.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth for his 21st save.
NOTES: Reds RHP Alfredo Simon was named to the National League All-Star team on Sunday. "It's a great feeling," said Simon. "I deserve to be there. It's going to be huge for me." ... Pirates 1B Matt Hague was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday to make room on the roster for RHP Francisco Liriano who was reinstated from the disabled list. ... The Pirates are 22-30 against the National League Central. "Within our division, we've had our challenges, with the Brewers and (Reds) in particular," said manager Clint Hurdle. ... The Pirates' starting rotation out of the break will be LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Jeff Locke, RHP Edison Volquez and RHP Vance Worley. ... Despite an injury-riddled first half, the Reds like where they are at the break. "We've got some big guns down, but I think we're in a good place team-wise," said 3B Todd Frazier. "We understand our situation. I think it brings us a little closer."