After going eight innings allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out six, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto became Major League Baseball's 15-game winner in the Reds' 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies Friday evening.
With the win, Cueto has won his last five starts and has allowed two runs or less in each of those starts.
"Any time we've got Johnny on the mound, good things happen," said Reds hybrid first baseman/catcher Brayan Pena. "That's the reason he's an All-Star and that's one of the reasons he is our ace."
"As a manager, it's very comfortable just being able to put all of your stock in one guy. You go all in with Johnny," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "You don't fear losing the game late. When he's in there, he's the best guy to be out on the field. He's so competitive. He doesn't give in."
Although Colorado scored first from a solo home run from Nolan Arenado in the second inning, Cincinnati returned in the third with a run of their own. Cueto and Billy Hamilton led off the inning with back-to-back singles before a sacrifice bunt moved both runners over. Jay Bruce then grounded out but Cueto was able to score from third to tie the game at one.
An inning later, the Reds took the lead after Ramon Santiago singled home Jack Hannahan, who doubled to lead off the inning. However the Rockies were able to tie the game at two in the bottom half of the sixth.
The game remained tied until the ninth inning. Santiago singled to start off the inning and Zack Cozart laid down a sacrifice bunt. After a walk and a pop out, Kris Negron stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second. He took the second pitch of the at-bat and singled to center to bring home the go-ahead run.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman took over in the ninth inning and shut the door on the Rockies to pick up his 26th save. He failed to record a strikeout ending his Major League record at 47 consecutive games with at least one strikeout.
"It was a hard-fought 3-2 win," Price said. "If this is what we've got to do the last 40 games of the season to get into the postseason, then that's how it's going to be. We'll fight all the way to the very end."
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