CINCINNATI (AP) - The Cleveland Indians were no match for an on-target pitcher and a sickly team.
Johnny Cueto threw his second complete game of the season, allowing only one runner to reach second base, and Joey Votto homered and drove in three runs Tuesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-1 victory in the opener of their intrastate series.
Several of the Reds had to get fluids intravenously before the game because of an illness going around the clubhouse. Votto skipped batting practice because he didn't feel well.
Didn't matter because the Indians couldn't do anything with Cueto (7-3), who allowed only Jason Kipnis' RBI single in the first inning.
``He just pretty much toyed with us after that first inning,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``He's one of the best pitchers in the National League. We ran into him on a tough night.'
Cueto gave up six hits, fanned seven and threw 122 pitches in the sixth complete game of his career.
``He was using his backdoor slider and when we started worrying about that pitch and the most we could do was foul it off, he would come with the fastball in,' Kipnis said. ``He had you off-balance and it was hard getting the barrel of the bat on the ball.'
Cueto got Michael Brantley on a grounder to end a draining day for the Reds. Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart was out of the lineup because of the illness, and others were struggling just to stay on the field.
Votto's two-run homer in the seventh off left-hander Tony Sipp made it 57 straight games with at least one homer at Great American Ball Park, the longest active streak in the majors. Votto added an RBI single as the Reds pulled away in the eighth.
Votto's homer broke the game open and added to Sipp's struggles. He has allowed seven runs in 6 2-3 innings over his last six appearances, pushing his ERA to 6.65.
He left a 2-0 pitch over the plate, and Votto hit it to left-center field, a place where a lot of homers land at Great American.
``As a pitcher, it's tougher,' Sipp said. ``You've definitely got to change your strategy. The ball Votto hit doesn't go out in a lot of parks. It goes out in this park.'
Before the game, the Indians made a trade to try to upgrade their bullpen, which is third-to-last in the AL in earned run average. They acquired right-hander Esmil Rogers from the Colorado Rockies for cash. Rogers went 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA in 23 appearances for Colorado. He's expected to join the Indians on Wednesday.
``He's got a very good arm,' Acta said. ``We took a flier on him. We'll make some adjustments on him and see if we can help him out. He was having some issues over there with consistency.'
The Reds won for only the second time in the last eight games of the interleague series. Cleveland won five of the six last season.
Brantley extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a seventh-inning single off Cueto. It's the longest current streak and one game shy of matching the longest in the majors this season. Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera went 0 for 4, ending his hitting streak at 12 games.
Jay Bruce hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the fifth off Jeanmar Gomez (4-5). Gomez gave up six hits and two runs - one unearned - in five innings. He also had his first major league hit, a single in the fifth inning.
Shin-Soo Choo opened the game with a double and scored on Kipnis' single. Choo was the only Indians runner to reach second.
The Reds tied it in the third when Cueto singled, advanced on a wild pitch and Wilson Valdez's single, and came home when catcher Carlos Santana threw wildly to first base on a pickoff attempt.
The Reds loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on a pair of singles around an intentional walk to Votto. Bruce's sacrifice fly to center made it 2-1.
Votto's 11th homer made it 4-1 in the seventh, and Cincinnati scored three more in the eighth off Jeremy Accardo.
NOTES: Cleveland leads the interstate series 39-37. ... The Indians are 3-4 in interleague play, the Reds 4-3. ... The Indians also designated 31-year-old C Luke Carlin for assignment. ... Indians INF Jack Hannahan, on the DL since May 27 with a strained left calf, was expected to play six innings at 3B for Class A Lake County, then take a day off as part of a rehab assignment. ... Mike Leake (2-5) tries for his third straight win in the second game of the series on Wednesday. Cleveland's Derek Lowe (7-4) is 3-3 with a 4.57 ERA in seven career starts against the Reds.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved