Rox pounce with power before holding off Reds
CINCINNATI -- Home runs by Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon propelled the Rockies before they held on for a 6-4 victory over the Reds on Wednesday to take the three-game series at Great American Ball Park -- their first series win since April 13-15. Colorado has won four of its last five games, while fading Cincinnati dropped its 10th in the last 11.
"It's always nice to win a series," said Arenado, who is on a 9-for-16, three-homer, 10-RBI run. "We won't win every game. We're going on another road trip [to Philadelphia for three] knowing that we took care of business here."
Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick snapped a personal eight-game winless streak with his first victory since Opening Day. Kendrick was charged with four earned runs and five hits over 7 1/3 innings, including one walk and one strikeout. The line is slightly deceiving because the right-hander was cruising until the eighth with a 6-1 lead.
"He was locked in today, throwing strikes, attacking," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "That was as good as he's been this year."
Following Tucker Barnhart's leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth, the Reds rallied against Kendrick with a Billy Hamilton single and Skip Schumaker walk. Lefty reliever Boone Logan could not retire any of his three batters as he walked his first two, including Todd Frazier with the bases loaded to force home a run. Jay Bruce blooped a single that landed in short left field for another run that made it a two-run game.
John Axford worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth for his eighth save.
Reds starter Mike Leake lasted five innings and allowed six earned runs and nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He is 0-3 with a 12.86 ERA in his last three starts and gave up all his runs to the Rockies on two-out hits.
A three-run homer to left field in the top of the first inning by Arenado made it a 3-0 game. Blackmon's two-run shot into the right-field seats extended the Colorado lead to 5-1 in the second.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
So smooth: Kendrick knifed through the Reds' lineup, but twice early had to make key pitches. In the third, Hamilton singled and stole second with one out, but Kendrick forced a Schumaker fly and a Joey Votto grounder. Frazier doubled to open the fourth, but Kendrick forced infield flies from Bruce and Marlon Byrd, and he ended the threat on a Zack Cozart grounder. Kendrick forced 11 outs on two or fewer pitches.
"The first couple of innings, I got some quick outs," Kendrick said. "I got some quick outs. The ball was moving. I was ahead in counts and getting early contact." More >
Frazier lets it fly: In the bottom of the first, Frazier got one run back for the Reds when he hit a 2-2 Kendrick pitch for a homer to left field that made it a 3-1 game. It was Frazier's 14th homer of the season, which gave him sole possession of second place in the National League. Frazier notched a second hit with a leadoff double lined into left field in the fourth inning.
Barnhart bash starts surge: Following Frazier's double in the fourth, Kendrick retired 12 Reds in a row and had only 61 pitches entering the eighth inning. Leading off the eighth, during which Cincinnati sent nine men to the plate, it was Barnhart who started the rally by hitting a 1-0 Kendrick pitch into the right-field seats for his third homer of the season.
Betancourt calms the waters:The Ohio River could have been threatening to wash the field and it wouldn't have cost righty Rafael Betancourt his cool in the eighth. After Kendrick tired and lefty Boone Logan gave up two walks -- one with the bases loaded -- and a bloop single to let the Reds cut the difference to two runs, Betancourt forced lazy fly balls from Byrd and Cozart.
"I knew to be ready," said Betancourt, the winner in the first game of the series. "You're not trying to think too much about what's going on. Focus, make a pitch and get outs. I'm glad I did that.
"I knew I had to get Marlon out without them scoring another run."
"It's just unbelievable, you know? You lose 10 out of 11, some games you're in, some games you're not -- and when you're losing, and all of a sudden you are down in the beginning of games, it's like, 'Ah, here we go again.' And it's on us as hitters to get back in the game, or pitchers the same way, to help pick us up. Frustrating on all levels, it's good to have an off-day [Thursday], I guess, and we'll come back." -- Frazier
REDS HOLD TEAM MEETING
Following their latest defeat, the Reds held a closed-door meeting that was led by manager Bryan Price. Catcher Brayan Pena called it a "positive meeting," and revealed that Price was the only person who spoke.
"When the general speaks, all the soldiers listen. It was something that we needed to hear," Pena said. More >
Rockies: Righty Chad Bettis (1-0, 4.19 ERA) held the Giants scoreless until the ninth and finished with an 8 1/3-inning gem in his last start. He'll try to follow that against the Phillies and lefty Cole Hamels (5-3, 2.98 ERA) on Friday night at 5:05 MT.
Reds: Following Thursday's scheduled day off, the Reds open a three-game series vs. the Nationals at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday. Anthony DeSclafani is scheduled to start for Cincinnati against Stephen Strasburg. The Reds have not won a season series from the Nationals since 2011.
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