Johnny Cueto tossed his second complete game of the season Tuesday as the Cincinnati Reds topped their intrastate rival Cleveland Indians, 7-1, in the opener of a three-game set at Great American Ball Park.
Cueto (7-3) threw 81 of his season-high 122 pitches for strikes and allowed just a run on six hits. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter to collect the win.
"He's fun to play behind because he throws strikes," Reds outfielder Chris Heisey said. "He's excited when we're playing well and cheering for the team. Every fifth day, I love when he's going out there. He's got energy and we feed off that."
Joey Votto went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and an RBI single, Wilson Valdez added three hits and an RBI and Jay Bruce contributed an RBI for the Reds, who bounced back nicely after losing two of three to Detroit over the weekend.
Jason Kipnis knocked in the only run of the night for the Indians, losers in two of their last three games.
Jeanmar Gomez (4-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and four walks over five innings.
Cincinnati broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth and didn't look back. Heisey and Brandon Phillips singled around an intentional walk to Votto to load the bases with one out. Bruce then lofted a fly ball to center, which allowed Heisey to tag and score to put the Reds up 2-1.
Valdez singled to begin the Cincinnati seventh and Tony Sipp was summoned from the Cleveland bullpen to face Votto, but he left a breaking ball over the plate which was quickly deposited into the left-field seats to make it a 4-1 game.
The Reds put the game away with three more runs in the eighth. Ryan Hanigan knocked in Ryan Ludwick with a base hit into right and then scored later in the frame on a groundout by Valdez. Votto followed with an RBI single to left to cap the scoring.
Cueto quickly got the first two outs in the ninth before allowing an infield hit to Carlos Santana. Reds manager Dusty Baker came out to the mound, but decided to leave him be. Cueto then got Michael Brantley to ground out to end the game.
"His stuff was on and he was throwing well," Kipnis said of Cueto's performance. "He was using his slider back door and got the ump to start giving him a couple inches up. When you start worrying about that pitch, he would came back with a fastball in. He had you off balance."
Earlier, the Indians jumped on top with a run in their first at-bat. Shin-Soo Choo ripped a leadoff double into the left-field corner, moved to third on a groundout by Asdrubal Cabrera and scored when Kipnis laced a base hit into left.
The Reds tied the game in the third thanks to some sloppy defense by Cleveland. With runners on the corners and one down, Santana sent a quick snap throw to first in an attempt to pick off Valdez. The throw hit Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman and went into right field, which allowed Cueto to score.
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart and center fielder Drew Stubbs both missed the game due to illness...Brantley (1-for-4) extended his hitting streak to 19 games...It was Cueto's sixth career complete game...Despite the loss, Cleveland holds a 39-37 lead in this series and has won six of the last eight meetings between the teams...At least one home run has been hit in of the last 57 games at Great American Ball Park. The last homerless game in Cincinnati took place on July 29, 2011 against the San Francisco Giants.