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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: Sports - Local Sports - Cueto has slow start, Reds fall to Rays 2-1

Cueto has slow start, Reds fall to Rays 2-1

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Johnny Cueto didn't feel ready to start the game. By the time he got into a rhythm, he was headed for another oh-so-close loss.

David Price took a shutout into the ninth inning Friday night before giving up a homer to Joey Votto, and the Tampa Bay Rays wound up holding on for a 2-1 victory over the Reds, their first in Cincinnati.

The teams have a brief and lopsided interleague history. The Reds had won eight of their nine previous games, with Tampa Bay's only win coming at Tropicana Field on June 28, 2011, on Evan Longoria's game-ending homer.

Longoria singled home a run in the first inning and Matt Joyce connected in the third against Cueto (0-2) as the Rays finally got a victory in their second visit to Great American Ball Park. They also visited in 2005 and got swept while giving up 34 runs in three games.

The Reds fell to 2-4 in one-run games. They're 0-2 in games decided by two runs.

"Unfortunately, we've wasted some good pitching," manager Bryan Price said. "We're playing outstanding defense, and we got another good start from Johnny. Unfortunately, he was matched up against a good pitcher."

Price (2-0) allowed four hits and one walk, losing his shutout when Votto hit an opposite-field drive with one out. He left a pitch over the outside part of the plate, costing him a chance at his third career shutout.

"That stinks," said Price, who threw 114 pitches. "I definitely wanted to finish that game."

Grant Balfour relieved, got Ryan Ludwick on a called third strike, then walked the next two batters and threw a wild pitch that let them advance to second and third. He pitched around Devin Mesoraco, who has been hitting well since his return from the disabled list, and got pinch-hitter Brayan Pena to take a called third strike.

"He (Mesoraco) is hot right now and I'm going to be smart," said Balfour, who is 3 for 3 in save chances. "I played the odds and rolled the dice there."

Despite the teams' limited history, they have one close connection. Bryan Price pitched for Joe Maddon when the Rays manager ran the Double-A Midland Angels in the 1980s. Price joked before the game that they got to know each other during Maddon's trips to the mound in the third and fourth innings to replace him.

No early exits in this one. Both starters hung in there against struggling offenses. Tampa Bay has scored a total of eight runs in its last five games. The Reds have scored only 28 runs overall, the second-fewest in the National League.

Both were wasteful again.

Cueto needed 26 pitches to get through the first inning, when he walked two with only one out. Longoria singled home a run, but that's all the Rays could manage. Joyce led off the third inning with a homer that landed way up in the right-field seats for his team-high second of the season.

"In the first inning, I didn't feel like I was ready," Cueto said. "I felt slow. I was a little down on myself. After that, everything clicked in and I was all right."

Tampa Bay had chances for a lot more. The Rays stranded four runners in scoring position in the first five innings against Cueto, who gave up five hits and walked four over seven innings.

The Reds wasted leadoff doubles by Mesoraco in the third and Brandon Phillips in the fourth. Phillips had two of Cincinnati's hits off Price.

NOTES: RH Alex Cobb makes his first career appearance against the Reds on Saturday. RH Alfredo Simon makes his second start for Cincinnati, filling in while Mat Latos recovers from knee surgery. ... The Rays recalled OF Kevin Kiermaier from Triple-A Durham. ... Tampa Bay LH Cesar Ramos will start Sunday in place of LH Matt Moore, on the DL with a sore pitching elbow. ... Maddon invited 1978 NL MVP Dave Parker to meet the Rays before the game. Parker grew up in Cincinnati and coached with Maddon on the Angels' staff. ... Bryan Price lost a replay challenge in the ninth, when he thought Phillips' foot had been hit by a pitch. He lost the challenge: The ball bounced and deflected off the catcher's mitt before hitting the foot.Cueto has slow start, Reds fall to Rays 2-1

Friday, April 11 2014, 11:43 PM EDT

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BREWERS-REDS

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Johnny Cueto pitched seven solid innings, and the Cincinnati Reds stayed in the chase for the NL's top record by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Tuesday night after learning they'll be without their manager for the rest of the week.

The Brewers dropped back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month, and it came at a bad time. They started the day 3 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild card spot.

They got no break from the Reds, who clinched the NL Central title on Saturday night.

Manager Dusty Baker met players before the game and revealed he suffered a mini-stroke in addition to being treated for an irregular heartbeat last week. The 63-year-old manager hopes to return to the dugout next week.

REDS-BAKER

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Dusty Baker won't manage the Cincinnati Reds until the final series in St. Louis, giving him time to recover from an irregular heartbeat that left him hospitalized last week.

Baker met with owner Bob Castellini and his team on Tuesday before a game against the Brewers. Bench coach Chris Speier said he'll manage the final three home games against Milwaukee and three in Pittsburgh over the weekend, with Baker taking over for the last three games next week.

The 63-year-old manager was hospitalized in Chicago last Wednesday for an irregular heartbeat, a problem he's had for a while. He was in the hospital for four days, missing the Reds' 6-0 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night that clinched the NL Central title.

INDIANS-WHITE SOX

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox have lost sole possession of first place in the AL Central race, with the Indians playing spoiler. Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout with the potential tying run on second base yesterday as the Indians downed the White Sox 4-3.

Down 4-0 in the fourth inning, the White Sox closed within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth. Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force.

Chicago (82-72) had held sole possession of the division lead since September 3. Detroit pulled into a tie for the division lead with its win over Kansas City last night.

T25-OHIO ST-MATCHING UP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Through four games and four victories, Ohio State's defense has faced a continual drumbeat of short passes, quick routes, screens and sweeps.

Every opponent, it seems, has relied on a sleight of hand.

Now the Buckeyes are looking forward to getting into familiar territory when they open Big Ten play.

When No. 14 Ohio State travels to 20th-ranked Michigan State on Saturday, the Buckeyes anticipate they'll run into a more conventional Midwestern attack. Granted, that means having to counteract the 244-pound blasts of the Spartans' massive Le'Veon Bell.

But after a month of chasing people, the Buckeyes think they might benefit from a change of pace from the subterfuge and rush-avoiding quick-hitters in a trade for raw man-on-man power struggles at the line of scrimmage.

T25-UPTIGHT SPARTANS

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State's lackluster win last weekend got to coach Mark Dantonio.

After the Spartans beat Eastern Michigan 23-7 Saturday, Dantonio hurried through a terse news conference full of abrupt answers. The Michigan State coach said "next question" seven times in under a minute and was clearly annoyed with the way his team played.

On Tuesday, Dantonio spoke with reporters for around a half-hour, but Michigan State isn't making any players or assistants available this week. The Spartans' coach is trying to send a clear message to his players that it's time to get serious.

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