Johnny Cueto's stuff ranges from good to dominant depending on the day. What never varies is Cueto's desire to compete, to win every pitch.

"He just competes and competes and competes," catcher Brayan Pena said. "He goes out there and battles. His confidence level is very high. When you're behind the plate, you know whatever (sign) you put down, he trusts."

Cueto agreed with Pena's scouting report: His desire to win is his best tool.

"I think that's me," Cueto said. "That's the way how I am. I always feel that. You keep fighting, you always want to win, but sometimes things don't go that way."

Everything went his way Wednesday. He threw a three-hit, complete-game shutout to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 before a crowd of 16,825 on a chilly, sunny afternoon. Cueto struck out a career-high 12 -- six on called third strikes -- and walked none.

Two of three hits were infield hits. It was his seventh complete game and third shutout. So far this season, Cueto has gone 30 innings, allowed five runs on 16 hits, struck out 35 and walked eight. His ERA sits at 1.51 after four starts.