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Rox start homestand on high note, edge Reds

Arenado homers, bullpen steps up in series opener
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Maybe Friday night was the start of the Rockies finally making themselves at home.

Noel Cuevas' pinch-hit RBI triple in the sixth inning and a solid bullpen performance gave the National League West-leading Rockies a 5-4 victory over the Reds at Coors Field.

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DENVER -- Maybe Friday night was the start of the Rockies finally making themselves at home.

Noel Cuevas' pinch-hit RBI triple in the sixth inning and a solid bullpen performance gave the National League West-leading Rockies a 5-4 victory over the Reds at Coors Field.

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The eight-hit performance wasn't the breakout performance that old-school Denver fans are starved for, but it was the Rockies' eighth victory in 19 home games. The Coors Field schedule has been light, but Friday started a nine-game homestand and a stretch of 12 of the next 15 at home.

And an offense that has sputtered more often than expected produced a first-inning solo homer from Nolan Arenado, and a bases-loaded, two-run Gerardo Parra single in a three-run third.

Arenado's homer, his ninth of the season, came after a 1-for-10 performance at Dodger Stadium as the Rockies dropped two of three. Charlie Blackmon doubled, singled and scored a run after going 7-for-34 during a 4-5 road trip. David Dahl went 2-for-4 after a 2-for-22 road trip.

Video: CIN@COL: Arenado belts a solo homer to center field

"It was really good -- a lot of good at-bats today," Arenado said.

Cuevas, a rookie whose bench production (4-for-14, .286) and overall work in spot-starts has been an exception on a team with young reserves, powered the final pitch from Reds starter Sal Romano (2-6) into the right-field corner. The right-on-right hit -- Cuevas is usually used against lefties -- scored Tony Wolters from second for a one-run lead.

"It means that I'm totally gaining confidence from the coaching staff to put me in those situations," said Cuevas, hitting .273 against right-handed pitching. "I'm glad that I was able to get the hit against a righty. That gives me the confidence that I can hit against righties, too, not just lefties."

The production wasn't consistent. Parra's hit came with one out in the third and an intentional walk to Trevor Story re-loaded the bases, but the only other run came when Wolters walked with the bases loaded and two down. Arenado grounded into a double play with runners at the corners to end the fourth.

"It's good we won coming off a couple losses," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "But we need to swing the bats a little better."

Video: CIN@COL: Parra rips a 2-run single to center field

Parra is hitting .333 (15 for 45) with two homers and seven RBIs in his last 13 games.

"That was a big hit with the bases loaded -- first-pitch fastball," Black said. "He's taking good swings. He hit that ball well on his last at-bat. He's holding up his end of the bargain. He's [.275], knocking in a few runs, getting on base."

Rockies starter Jon Gray showed some remnants of a two-game slump (11 runs, 19 hits in nine innings), when he gave up two runs on three hits in the first, and fell behind, 4-1, in the third on Eugenio Suarez's ninth homer of the season.

"It took a lot today," Gray said. "Things didn't start off very good at all."

Video: CIN@COL: Gray gets Gennett swinging in the 5th

But with two on and one out in the fourth, Gray extracted pop-ups from Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto.

"I tried not to give them too much credit," Gray said. "Hitting's hard. I knew if I mixed right and changed locations, things would be good."

Then Gray retired seven of the final eight batters -- four via strikeout to run his total to eight, against six hits and four runs, in six innings.

Lefty Mike Dunn got Votto to hit into a double play in the seventh, running his scoreless streak to 4 2/3 innings after some rough times. Adam Ottavino pitched around a Suarez leadoff single in the eighth, and Wade Davis earned his 18th save.

"We've had our struggles at home, for whatever reason, but it's nice to get the first one out of the way -- of any series," Dunn said.

UP NEXT

Lefty Tyler Anderson (3-1, 4.74 ERA) has the third-lowest ERA of any pitcher who has thrown 100 innings at Coors Field -- 3.50. He'll put that on the line Saturday night against the Reds and righty Tyler Mahle (3-6, 4.53).

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

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