Cincinnati, OH – Joey Votto hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a two-game set at Great American Ball Park.
With one out and one on, Votto smashed a 2-1 pitch off Nick Hagadone (0-1), scoring Shin-Soo Choo, who singled to begin the frame. Prior to the home run, Choo advanced to second on a passed ball and then to third on a sacrifice bunt by Zack Cozart.
"I hit that home run because of Choo and because of Cozart," said Votto. "I wouldn't have got those pitches to hit. It would have been a much, much tougher at-bat from Hagadone."
"Situationally, we wanted to try to pound Votto in and we didn't," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "We don't want to let him get his arms extended there. But that's learning of a young pitcher."
Aroldis Chapman pitched a flawless ninth to notch his 13th save of the season.
Choo, who was traded by the Indians during the offseason, was 2-for-4 with a home run, while Brandon Phillips had an RBI for the Reds, who have won six of seven.
Cincinnati starter Mike Leake allowed two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and fanned seven in 7 1/3 innings. Jonathan Broxton (2-1) recorded the final two outs of the eighth to pick up the win.
Jason Giambi hit a solo shot and Carlos Santana drove in the other run for the Indians, who saw starter Ubaldo Jimenez give up two runs on four hits and four walks over seven frames.
Choo's solo blast began the home half of the first.
In the fourth, Jason Kipnis smacked a leadoff single. Two batters later, Nick Swisher reached first on a fielding error by Phillips and Kipnis advanced to third. Santana then brought Kipnis home with a sacrifice fly to left.
Phillips made up for his blunder in the sixth, when his sac fly plated Cozart, who ripped a double to start the inning.
With one out in the eighth, Giambi, pinch-hitting for Jimenez, snapped an 0- for-24 slump with a home run to center that went 467 feet to tie the game at 2-2.
Votto has 139 home runs at first base, tied with Lee May (1965-1971) for third-most in franchise history ... The Indians still hold a 42-40 edge in the all-time series against the Reds, but are 10-18 in Cincinnati.