Nova pitched seven innings in front of his new home fans, Homer Bailey struggled in his second start since having Tommy John surgery and the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Saturday night.
Nova (8-6) was acquired from the New York Yankees on Monday for two players to be named and gave up three runs and six hits with five strikeouts and no walks. He had spent his entire seven-year career with New York.
"I did what I wanted to do -- be a little bit aggressive in the strike zone," Nova said. "I got a lot of strikes and got quick outs."
Nova pitched more than six innings just three times in 15 starts with the Yankees this season.
"This guy's pitched for a lot of years, in New York City," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "So, he's done some things. He's just trying to find more consistency and get the opportunity. He wants to pitch with an edge and he was able to show that."
Starling Marte welcomed reliever Josh Smith with a two-run single in the fourth to give the Pirates a 5-2 lead. Marte and Josh Harrison each had two hits for Pittsburgh, which entered three games out of the second NL wild card.
Tony Watson pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in three chances since All-Star closer Mark Melancon was traded to the Washington Nationals. Watson blew the save Friday night but the Pirates rallied for a 3-2 win.
"It was good to get back out there again after what happened last night," Watson said. "It's even better that we won both games."
The Reds' Brandon Phillips hit two solo home runs off Nova for the 13th multihomer game of his 15-year career. The second baseman raised his season total to eight but had last homered May 7 and ended a career-long streak of 286 at-bats without connecting.
Phillips is 9 for 15 with six RBI and six runs in his last four games.
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Phillips' second home run cut the Reds' deficit to 5-3 in the seventh. He also homered in the second when Tucker Barnhart had an RBI single to put Cincinnati ahead 2-1.
The Pirates scored twice against Bailey (1-1) in the third to move in front 3-2.John Jaso was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded with two outs and Francisco Cervelli followed with an RBI single.
Bailey allowed five runs and eight hits in three-plus innings. He struck out four and walked one. He was coming off a promising season debut, limiting San Diego to two runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings in a 3-2 win on July 31.
"There wasn't acute pain but I just didn't feel very good," Bailey said. "I couldn't finish my pitches. I knew before the game it might be a problem but I was hoping to throw enough pitches to get us through until we could get the lead to the bullpen.
"I know this is part of recovery process but it doesn't feel good when you cost your team the game. The bullpen pitched great but the starter didn't."
The Pirates won their second game in a row following a 1-5 stretch while the Reds lost back-to-back games for the first time since dropping three in a row from July 8-10. The loss also ended Cincinnati's streak of six consecutive series victories since the break.
Pirates: 3B David Freese (left elbow discomfort) was removed from the game in the seventh inning. ... RF Gregory Polanco (left shoulder discomfort) did not start for a third straight game.
Meanwhile, LHP Jeff Locke is moving to the bullpen. Manager Clint Hurdle said there is no room for Locke in the rotation following the trade for Nova and the activation of RHP Ryan Vogelsong on Thursday from the disabled list.
Reds: RHP Dan Straily (6-6, 3.80 ERA) will start Sunday in the finale of the three-game series and try to extend his streak of six straight quality starts.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (7-6, 2.73) is 0-5 with a 5.30 ERA in seven career starts against Cincinnati.