The Sports Xchange
By Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
Reds 3, Rockies 2
DENVER -- Kris Negron singled home the winning run in the ninth inning to give Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at Coors Field.
Cueto (15-6) set a career high with his seventh straight win and matched his career high by winning his fifth straight start. He won for the 11th time this season after a Reds loss.
Aroldis Chapman picked up his 26th save. He gave up a one-out walk in the ninth but ended the game when pinch-hitter Michael McKenry lined a ball that staggered Reds first baseman Branyan Pena as he caught it and stepped on first to complete a double play.
Adam Ottavino, the sixth Rockies pitcher, gave up a leadoff single in the ninth inning to third baseman Ramon Santiago, who was sacrificed to second. Ottavino (0-4) walked Skip Schumaker, who pinch-hit for Cueto, and got center fielder Billy Hamilton to pop out, but Negron lined a single past Ottavino for his career-high fourth hit.
The Rockies admirably pieced together nine innings from their relief corps when scheduled starter Franklin Morales' wife went into labor earlier in the day.
Colorado tied the score at 2 in the sixth inning on a double by left fielder Corey Dickerson that extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games and drove in first baseman Justin Morneau, who had walked with one out ahead of third baseman Nolan Arenado's bloop single to right.
After Dickerson's double, Cueto intentionally walked catcher Wilin Rosario to load the bases for Charlie Culberson, who struck out on a high 95 mph fastball. Cueto blew another high 95 mph fastball past DJ LeMahieu, who slammed his bat to the ground in disgust after a futile swing.
Reliever Juan Nicasio followed Nick Masset to the mound and pitched a perfect sixth inning for the Rockies, getting each of the three batters he faced to ground to shortstop. Rex Brothers came on after Nicasio and gave up a two-out single in the seventh to Negron but retired right fielder Jay Bruce on a fly to left.
Morales was scheduled to start for the Rockies, but after his wife went into labor and manager Walt Weiss heard the news while driving to Coors Field around 1 p.m., he had to change his pitching plans.
Matt Belisle made his first start since May 25, 2008, when he was with the Reds. Belisle was working on a limit of about 45 pitches. Weiss was hoping to get three innings from Belisle, who went that distance on 49 pitches, 37 strikes.
He gave up two singles to start the game but eased out of that jam by getting right fielder Jay Bruce to ground out, left fielder Ryan Ludwick to line out and striking out catcher Brayan Pena.
Belisle gave up a run in the third when Cueto and Hamilton opened the inning with singles. The runners moved up on a sacrifice, and Cueto scored on Bruce's groundout.
Masset followed Belisle to the mound in the fourth and allowed a run that put the Reds ahead 2-1. First baseman Jack Hannahan led off with a double to the gap in right center and Santiago followed with a run-scoring single.
The Rockies took an early 1-0 lead when third baseman Nolan Arenado led off the second with his 12th homer of the season.
NOTES: Rockies RHP Matt Belisle made an emergency start in place of LHP Franklin Morales, whose wife went into labor. Belisle's previous 43 career starts were with the Reds, the last on May 25, 2008. ... The Reds announced that RHP Dylan Axelrod will start Saturday in place of RHP Homer Bailey (strained right flexor mass tendon). Necessary roster moves will be made Saturday. ... Reds 1B Todd Frazier wasn't in the lineup because of stiffness in his lower right back that he felt while swinging in his second at-bat Thursday. ... Reds RHP Logan Ondrusek (strained right shoulder) was scheduled to make a rehab assignment Friday for Triple-A Louisville and could rejoin the Reds in the next day or two. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki underwent season-ending surgery in Vail, Colo., to have his torn left hip labrum repaired. ... RF Michael Cuddyer (fractured left shoulder socket), who completed a seven-game rehab assignment Thursday, will be activated Saturday and play for the Rockies for the first time since he was injured June 5.
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