OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Johnny Cueto nearly had a triple play turned behind him. A double play by the Cincinnati Reds still did plenty to protect his lead.
``Play of the game,' catcher Ramon Hernandez said.
Cueto pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning, Jay Bruce had an early two-run single on the way to his second straight three-hit game and the Reds earned a sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 3-0 win Wednesday.
Cincinnati salvaged a .500 road trip after losing all three at Seattle over the weekend.
``We got swept, then we swept,' manager Dusty Baker said. ``Not the way we planned it.'
Cueto (7-2) retired the first seven batters of the game before Mark Ellis doubled to shallow right with one out in the third. The right-hander responded well after losing 1-0 to Cliff Lee and the Mariners on Friday at Safeco Field.
So did Cincinnati's defense.
The A's had the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth but came out of it with nothing but their manager being ejected.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips made a heads-up play not fielding a soft liner by Gabe Gross and instead caught the ball on a short hop and threw home for a force. Hernandez fired to third baseman Miguel Cairo and he both stepped on the bag and tagged Kurt Suzuki. Had Cairo stepped on third and immediately thrown to second right away, Cincinnati would have had time to turn a triple play.
``Might've, but we were happy to get what we got, bases loaded, nobody out,' said Baker, who was eager to head to his Sacramento-area home after the game and sleep in his own bed before Thursday's off day.
Phillips wildly jumped up and down in frustration at the missed chance for a rare triple play.
``We like to get on ESPN. Cairo kept us from getting on ESPN with a triple play,' Hernandez joked. ``He messed up a little of our ESPN time.'
Oakland skipper Bob Geren was tossed by second base umpire and crew chief Jerry Crawford, arguing for the infield fly rule that would have made it only one out.
``In my opinion that's an infield fly rule,' Geren said. ``The rules state if it can be caught with ordinary effort outside of a line drive it can be called an infield fly. (Crawford) thought it was a semi line drive, I thought it was more of a popup. We had a disagreement of what the ball did. It was a big part of the game, bases-loaded no outs. That's frustrating.'
It was the second ejection this year and eighth overall for Geren, who emphatically threw his hat into the ground and continued to scream at Crawford for several minutes after being thrown out.
``I had no idea what was going on,' Suzuki said of the play. ``Your first instinct on a ball hit like that is to go back to the base. Then they said it was a groundball, so I started running but by that time they had already thrown to home and third.'
Bruce's single put the Reds ahead, and Cueto went right to work with the lead. He allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked two in seven-plus innings before leaving in the eighth after allowing back-to-back singles. Nick Masset quickly got Suzuki to ground into a double play, then struck out Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Francisco Cordero saved his second straight game - his 19th in 24 chances - after blowing the save but earning a win in Monday's 6-4, 10-inning victory.
Jonny Gomes added an insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth for the Reds.
The A's lost for the seventh time in eight games and 10th in 12 to fall a season-high six games under .500 (34-40). They are 6-16 this month.
Bruce was a big reason the Reds bounced back after being held to one total run in their sweep at Seattle. He had three hits Tuesday night and drove in a run Monday.
``Everybody forgot about that already,' Bruce said of the Mariners series.
Oakland starter Vin Mazzaro (2-2) is winless in three starts since earning back-to-back victories June 3 and 8, one in relief. He didn't get any help from his hitters on a day Oakland managed only seven hits.
A's center fielder Coco Crisp, playing only his fourth game of the year following two disabled list stints, called off left fielder Rajai Davis on Joey Votto's flyball in the third but wound up dropping it for an error.
Votto also drew three walks and has reached base safely in 32 straight games, matching the longest in the majors this year also done by the Rays' Evan Longoria.
It's the longest such streak by a Reds player since Austin Kearns reached in 32 consecutive games in 2003.
NOTES: A's pitchers Josh Outman and Joey Devine, both recovering from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, have been shut down and were set to be examined this week. ... Reds RHP Edinson Volquez, coming back from Tommy John surgery, allowed three hits and one run in five innings in his third rehab outing and first for Triple-A Louisville.... Reds RHP Mike Leake won't pitch this Sunday against Cleveland and instead will get two extra days' rest and go Tuesday vs. the Phillies. ... Reds GM Walt Jocketty said the team is likely to sign free agent OF Gary Matthews Jr. by the weekend. It would be a minor league deal.
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