The Reds again had little offense and lost their season-high fifth in a row and ninth in 13 games. They have been limited to two runs or fewer in seven of those 13 games.
Perez, unable to do much while allowing 32 earned runs in six consecutive bad starts, did it all in winning for the first time since April 18. He shook off a rough start, in which four of the Reds' first five batters reached base, and lasted six innings for only the second time this season.
Perez (2-5) also helped himself with a two-run single in the second against Bronson Arroyo (5-2) and stole a base, getting such a big jump on Arroyo that he reached second about the same time that Arroyo's pitch reached the plate.
Perez clapped his hands in celebration after reaching base and again after pulling off the steal, the first by a Pirates pitcher since he had a steal against the Reds on Sept. 18. And no wonder - Perez understood he was close to being sent to the minors for the first time since 2003 after struggling with his delivery and control all season.
The Pirates skipped over Perez in the rotation after they were rained out against Arizona last Thursday, allowing Perez to have three extra throwing sessions with their coaching staff. Perez had as many walks (five) as he did strikeouts but, unlike recent starts, got important outs when necessary.