Denver, CO – Despite having Johnny Cueto take the hill, the Reds required a slugfest to win their ninth straight game, 9-7, over the Colorado Rockies.
Cueto (13-5), who entered Saturday with the best earned run average in the National League, had another rough outing against the Rockies en route to the win. The right-hander allowed a career-high 11 hits against Colorado on May 25, and was tagged for five runs on 10 hits and two walks on Saturday.
Ryan Ludwick slammed two of Cincinnati's five home runs, delivering his third multi-homer game of the season. Todd Frazier, Drew Stubbs and Scott Rolen also homered, as the Reds won for the 16th time in their last 18 games.
Carlos Gonzalez continued to reap the benefits of Coors Field, picking up a pair of hits and driving in three runs in the middle installment of a three- game set. On the season, Gonzalez has knocked in 48 runs in 46 home games.
"We picked Cueto up tonight. He can't throw zeroes up every time, even though he is pretty good," said Ludwick.
On the other side of the coin, Christian Friedrich (5-8) continued to struggle at Coors Field. He gave up seven runs on six hits, including three home runs, in 4 1/3 innings. This season, Friedrich is 2-5 with an 8.98 ERA at home.
The Reds, who began the fifth trailing 4-3, stormed ahead with four runs. Frazier walked and Ryan Hanigan singled to start the frame. After Cueto advanced the runners with a bunt, Zack Cozart rolled a single into left field to tie the game. Stubbs followed with another single to left to give Cincinnati the lead and end Friedrich's night.
Josh Roenicke replaced Friedrich and was greeted by Brandon Phillips, who sent a blast off the right-center-field wall to plate two more runs and give the Reds a 7-4 lead.
Gonzalez drove in Dexter Fowler with a fielder's choice in the bottom half of the fifth, but Cincinnati quickly got that run back. Rolen led off the sixth with a solo shot to the first row in left field to make the score 8-5.
The Rockies pulled within a run in the seventh inning. Gonzalez walked and Cuddyer launched a long fly ball just past the outstretched arm of Ludwick and into the left-field seats.
Once again, the Reds responded with power. Ludwick blasted his second home run of the night to start the seventh inning.
Colorado staged a threat in the ninth inning, putting runners on second and third following a wild pitch, but Aroldis Chapman fanned Andrew Brown to nail down his 21st save of the season.
"We have to score more runs than the other team. That's what it boils down to and we didn't do that tonight," Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said.
The Rockies ambushed Cueto in the first inning. Fowler and Josh Rutledge singled to start the inning and advanced to second and third on an errant pickoff attempt. Gonzalez singled to right-center to plate two, then scored when Cuddyer roped a double to left.
Cincinnati popped a pair of solo shots in the second to close the gap. Ludwick blasted a no-doubt shot deep into the seats in left field and Frazier followed, two batters later, with a homer of his own.
Stubbs tied the game in the third with another solo homer run, before Colorado re-took the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Rutledge singled to start the inning and advanced to second when Cueto threw away another pickoff attempt. Gonzalez singled to move him to third and Cuddyer grounded into a double play to plate Rutledge and give the Rockies the lead, 4-3.
Helton, who was activated off the 15-day disabled list last night, returned to the lineup and went 1-for-2 with an RBI...Gonzalez tied Neifi Perez for the fourth-longest home hitting streak in club history at 27 games...Chapman has only allowed one earned run in 44 1/3 innings against NL opponents this season...The Reds are 10-2 since Joey Votto left the lineup on July 16...Ludwick has 15 career multi-home run games...Cueto has won four straight starts...The Reds went 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded two...The Rockies went 2-for-10 with RISP and left 10 runners on base.