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Rockies get by Reds 6-3

CINCINNATI (AP) — The breaking ball went everywhere. The fastball was way off, too. Johnny Cueto just didn’t have it.

And, as a result, the Cincinnati Reds’ best winning streak in two years was finished.

Todd Helton hit his first homer in nearly a month and drove in three runs Friday night, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 6-3 victory that ended the Reds’ winning streak at six games.

Helton had a two-run homer — his first since April 29 — and a run-scoring single off Cueto (5-2), who gave up a career-high 11 hits in only 4 2-3 innings.

“He didn’t have his breaking ball tonight,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He was flying open, and he couldn’t control his breaking ball. He couldn’t locate his fastball. We were hoping to get him through the next inning.

“You can’t get greedy. We won six straight. Now we have to start a new streak.”

Helton wasn’t the only Rockies hitter who came away pleased. Troy Tulowitzki had three hits, including an RBI single in the ninth. And every Rockies starter had a hit, including pitcher Christian Friedrich (2-1).

For Colorado, it’s been more about the starting pitching. This time, it was just enough.

Friedrich, a rookie left-hander, went five innings against an offense that had been on a home run tear — 10 in the last four games. Joey Votto had four hits for the Reds, including a pair of doubles.

The biggest downside: Colorado’s rotation ranks last in the NL with a 5.55 ERA and has thrown the fewest innings in the league, putting a lot of strain on the bullpen.

“I definitely need to get into the later innings,” Friedrich said. “We’ve been wearing out our bullpen. They did a (great) job today coming in for the final four innings.”

Five relievers blanked the Reds on a pair of hits. The Reds failed to hit a homer and stranded six runners in scoring position overall. Rafael Betancourt pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in nine chances, closing out only the Rockies’ fifth win in their last 20 games.

Votto had three of his hits off Friedrich, who gave up seven hits and three runs while fanning six. Todd Frazier doubled home a pair of runs.

Cueto’s uncharacteristically sloppy outing ended the Reds’ surge into first place in the NL Central. The rotation had been solid, putting together six straight quality starts on the homestand.

“I didn’t feel good,” said Cueto, who was out of whack with his delivery. “Every time I threw my breaking ball, I opened up and I wasn’t landing right.”

The beat-up Rockies opened the series with more injuries. Catcher Ramon Hernandez went on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a sprained left hand that has bothered him for several days. Right fielder Michael Cuddyer — one of Colorado’s hottest hitters — was a late scratch from the lineup because of a stiff neck.

The mix-and-match lineup held its own against Cueto, who came in with a 1.97 ERA but gave up five runs.

Even Friedrich got a single off Cueto.

“My first professional hit,” said Friedrich, who went to Eastern Kentucky University and had former teammates in in the stands. “I’d been 0-since-I-signed. The last hit I got might have been in high school.”

Helton hit a two-run homer in the second, and Eric Young singled home another run in the third for a 3-0 lead.

After the Reds put together four hits to tie it in the third, Helton’s RBI single helped the Rockies pull back ahead 5-3 in the fifth.

NOTES: Right-hander Mike Leake tries to win his second straight start on Saturday against Colorado’s Jeremy Guthrie. … The Rockies called up C Wil Nieves from Triple-A to take Hernandez’s spot. The Rockies are Nieves’ fifth major league club. … It was the third time Votto had four hits in a game this season. … RF Jay Bruce was out of the Reds’ lineup, getting a day to regroup from a deep slump. He’s hitless in his last 14 at-bats and 1 for 31 overall. … 3B Scott Rolen, who went on the DL on May 12 with a sore left shoulder, hasn’t tried to hit yet. He said his shoulder is feeling better.


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