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Nicasio hit hard early, Rockies lose to Reds 8-3

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DENVER (AP) - Juan Nicasio was in trouble right away.

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He issued a four-pitch walk to Shin-Soo Choo and served up a triple to Brandon Phillips to start a 25-pitch first inning. The right-hander was gone before he could get out of the fifth.

``I don't think he got loose,'' Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. ``He used the first inning to get loosened up.''

Phillips tripled, homered and doubled in his first three at_bats, Greg Reynolds beat his former team for his first major league win in two years, and the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Rockies 8-3 on Saturday night.

Phillips scored three runs, drove in two and just missed becoming the first Reds player to hit for the cycle since Eric Davis did it against the San Diego Padres on June 2, 1989. Phillips struck out and grounded sharply to third in his last two at_bats.

He began the night with an RBI triple that rolled to the center-field wall, and scored on Joey Votto's groundout. Phillips connected in the third off Nicasio for his 17th home run, then doubled to left in the fifth and scored.

``I was a little tired in the first inning and I had a problem with the command of my fastball,'' Nicasio said. ``I missed a couple of pitches against good hitters because of my command and got behind in the count.''

Colorado's Todd Helton remained one hit shy of 2,500, going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts a night after homering twice and matching a career high with six RBIs.

``You can be great one game and have the hat trick the next,'' Helton said.

Reynolds, drafted No. 2 overall by the Rockies in 2006, was traded two years ago to Texas. He was signed to a minor league contract by the Reds last December.

Making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville to fill in for injured Tony Cingrani, Reynolds (1-2) allowed three runs on seven hits over eight innings at Coors Field in his first career start against his old team.

``I hadn't done particularly well here,'' he said. ``I learned what not to do, but I was definitely more comfortable coming out here now. I feel I'm a better pitcher now than I was before. I think that kind of showed today.''

Reynolds struck out five, including three in the seventh, and walked none in his first big league win since July 2, 2011, against Kansas City with the Rockies.

The Reds, leading 3-0, added three more runs in the fifth.

Choo, who had three hits, singled to start the inning and Phillips doubled, his third extra-base hit of the game.

Nicasio (8-7) was erratic all night, allowing six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. He intentionally walked Jay Bruce to load the bases in the fifth and was relieved by Wilton Lopez.

``I need to throw more strikes,'' Nicasio said. ``Ninety-five pitches just into the fifth inning is too many pitches.''

Lopez was charged with a balk before he threw his first pitch, advancing all three runners, including Choo, who trotted home. Ryan Ludwick then singled for the third time, scoring both Phillips and Bruce to put the Reds up by six.

The Rockies scored in the bottom half on pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco's RBI double, but the Reds responded with another run in the sixth. Reynolds doubled over the head of left fielder Corey Dickerson and went to third on Choo's single. Phillips struck out before Votto singled up the middle to score Reynolds.

Choo added an RBI double in the eighth.

Dickerson homered in the eighth, a two-run shot off Reynolds that reached the right-field seats.

NOTES: Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (right elbow inflammation) was set to be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start Sunday's series finale against RHP Mike Leake (11-5). ... The balk by Lopez was his third of the season, tying him with Rockies reliever Rex Brothers and former Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona for the NL lead. ... Colorado passed on Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria to draft Reynolds out of Stanford. ... Weiss said he hadn't decided whether Helton would play Sunday afternoon.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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