DENVER (AP)Chad Kuhl shook off a first-pitch homer by Tyler Naquin to last into the eighth inning, Ryan McMahon hit a go-ahead two-run triple in the sixth and the Colorado Rockies held on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Saturday night.
Charlie Blackmon added an RBI double in Colorado’s four-run sixth inning. Aramis Garcia also homered for the Reds, who lost their ninth in a row on the road.
Naquin homered for the second time this season, driving Kuhl’s first offering of the game the opposite way into the left field bleachers. Kuhl (3-0) retired the next 12 batters he faced before the Reds loaded the bases on three consecutive singles to start the fifth. However, Kuhl limited the damage by inducing a run-scoring double-play grounder from Garcia and getting Jake Fraley to fly out to end the inning.
Connor Overton, promoted from Triple-A Louisville ahead of his Reds’ and season debut, was relieved by Art Warren with one on and one out in the bottom of the sixth. Warren (0-1) walked Connor Joe and Charlie Blackmon followed with a run-scoring double. Joe scored on right fielder Fraley’s errant throw to the cutoff man, evening the score at 2-all. Randal Grichuk walked before McMahon tripled home two more runs to put the Rockies up 4-2. ”We were linking our bats,” McMahon said. ”Their pitcher came out tonight and threw pretty well. He came right at us. We didn’t really have an answer for him early. But all it took was that one big inning. I’m just glad we got it done and the bullpen and Chad took care of the rest.” It was an uncharacteristic outing for Warren, who had not allowed the opposition to score in five of his six previous outings. ”It looked like right from the first pitch he didn’t have a great feel,” Reds manager David Bell said of Warren. ”He was throwing hard but just couldn’t get a grip, just never really kind of found his flow out there. But he has been so good for us, so good for us each time. He’ll be ready to go next time.”
Bell added he was encouraged by what he saw from Overton.
”That was outstanding what he did, to step in in a big game for us against that team in this ballpark,” Bell said. ”He threw strikes, made pitches. He had great command. He did his job.”
Kuhl gave up his second homer of the game to Garcia with one out in the eighth and was relieved by Tyler Kinley, who fanned both batters that he faced to end the inning. Daniel Bard got the last three outs for his sixth save in seven chances. Kuhl allowed three runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out four in a career-high 7 1-3 innings. The two homers were the only extra-base hits he allowed against the Reds and he has given up only three extra-base hits on the season.
”It’s a pretty good string. I’ve had good strings before but keeping guys off the base paths, this is probably the best I’ve done,” said Kuhl, who was signed to a one-year deal by the Rockies in the spring after being non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates. ”It’s just one of those things where I feel like I’m not getting overly analyzed or anything like that. They’re just kind of letting me pitch, letting me do my thing and I’m getting some good results from it.” A SECOND FIRST Two of Naquin’s four career leadoff home runs have come on the first pitch of the game and both of those came off Kuhl. Naquin also homered off Kuhl’s first offering last April 7 while Kuhl was with Pittsburgh.
OF Aristides Aquino was designated for assignment to make roster room for Overton, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Louisville.
Reds: INF Jonathan India was scratched from the lineup to allow for a planned recovery day after playing in four consecutive games since returning from the injured list Monday. He missed nine games earlier this month due to a strained right hamstring. … RHP Luis Castillo (right shoulder strain) made his second rehabilitation appearance on Friday night for Triple-A Louisville. He’s scheduled to make another rehab start for Louisville on Wednesday.
Rockies: INF Brendan Rodgers missed a fourth consecutive game since being scratched from Wednesday’s game at Philadelphia due to back soreness. The team remains hopeful that Rodgers will avoid a stay on the injured list.
Reds LHP Reiver Sanmartin (0-3, 10.91 ERA) is slated to start Sunday’s series finale against Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (0-3, 6.16 ERA).