Reds ride Cueto, costly Twins error to win
CINCINNATI -- In potentially his final start in a Reds uniform at Great American Ball Park, ace Johnny Cueto threw eight strong innings to lead the Reds to a series-clinching 2-1 victory over the Twins on Wednesday.
Cueto (5-5, 2.84) gave up one run on four hits, one walk and one hit batter for his first win since June 7. He also recorded eight strikeouts, giving him exactly 100 on the season. The 29-year-old right-hander is in the final year of his current contract, and he has been considered by many as a candidate to be moved before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.
"I always thank God every time I go on the mound," Cueto said. "I'm just thinking about pitching. I don't think about the other stuff."
Trevor May (4-7, 4.37) bounced back from his worst start of the season with 6 1/3 solid innings for the Twins. May gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks.
"What I liked was that at the end of the day, the numbers were good," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "The bases-loaded jam, he gave up three hits there, but he was able to make some good pitches to keep the zero there. I think the rest of the time was pretty solid."
Despite the impressive start on Wednesday, May could lose his starting spot when Ervin Santana returns from his 80-game suspension on Sunday against the Royals. But he made a strong case to stick, as the Twins could go to a six-man rotation.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Herrmann's airmail costs Twins: After walking Billy Hamilton and Brandon Phillips, May had a 3-2 count against Joey Votto and the Reds sent both runners. It went for ball four, which allowed the runners to advance. But catcher Chris Herrmann threw to third anyway, and the throw sailed into left field. That allowed Hamilton to score what turned out to be the decisive run.
"Any close pitch like that, in my mind, I'm going to try to throw the guy out even if it's called a ball," Herrmann said. "I have to make a better throw than that. I take total blame for making a throw like that. I'm not known for that, so I'm pretty down on myself about it. It was a 2-1 game, and a run was scored from that right there." More >
Cueto on a roll: Cueto retired 11 straight Twins batters after giving up back-to-back singles to start the second inning. His streak came to an end when he hit Shane Robinson with a pitch with two outs in the fifth inning. Robinson left the game the following inning with a left elbow contusion.
"He had all of his stuff," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's 90 percent pitcher, 10 percent showman. It seems like every year, he comes out with some other little twist. … I don't know if he needs all of it, but I do know he is one of the few guys who has that type of body control where he can go out there and still throw quality pitches off all of those different tempos." More >
May pitches out of jam: May, who recorded just one out in his previous start against the Brewers, ran into trouble early again, but this time he was able to escape. May loaded the bases with nobody out in the second, but struck out Eugenio Suarez and Cueto before getting Hamilton to fly out to center to end the inning. More >
Sac fly starts scoring: Phillips scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly by Votto in the third inning. Phillips started the inning with a leadoff double and advanced to third on a wild pitch by May. He then took a chance on a shallow fly ball to short left field, but he was able to beat Robinson's throw on a close play at home plate.
"You do [as little as possible] when you face [Aroldis Chapman] and just pray you hit the ball. And that's what I did. I made pretty good contact, but [the pitch] was down a little bit, when he's usually up. So all I could do was hit a line drive, and I hit the ball in the gap and Billy Hamilton made a nice play."
-- Torii Hunter on making the final out
Twins: The Twins head to Kansas City for a four-game series against the first-place Royals that begins Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Kyle Gibson makes the start, looking to bounce back after posting a 4.70 ERA in June. It's a big series for the second-place Twins, who also get Santana back on Sunday.
Reds: After an off-day Thursday, the Reds return with rookie right-hander Michael Lorenzen in the opener of a three-game set against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park. Lorenzen is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last three starts. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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