Arenado leads Rockies to 5-4 win over Reds
AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI — Nolan Arenado’s big games back-to-back have the Colorado Rockies feeling like they’re finally getting their act together.
The Cincinnati Reds? Every day brings another low point.
The Reds lost their ninth in a row on Monday, their worst slump in 17 years. Arenado homered, had three hits and drove in the tiebreaking run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning off Aroldis Chapman for a 5-4 victory, Colorado’s third in a row.
“I see it turning around,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “I see us pitching better, taking better at-bats, just playing better.”
The Rockies opened the season by winning their first four games, which was their high point. Their offense has come around the last few days behind Arenado, who had four hits and drove in four runs during an 11-2 win over the Giants on Sunday.
The third baseman had a pair of singles and a solo homer off Reds starter Jason Marquis. He then helped the Rockies pull it out against Chapman (2-3), who came in for the ninth.
Charlie Blackmon opened with a walk and took third on D.J. LeMahieu’s single. Blackmon scored easily on Arenado’s routine fly to center fielder Billy Hamilton, whose throw was off-target.
“By that time, I was a little tired,” Arenado said. “If Hamilton had made the throw more on-line, he probably would have been out.”
Rafael Betancourt (2-1) retired the four batters he faced. John Axford gave up a walk in the ninth while getting his seventh save in as many chances.
“Three wins in a row, we haven’t seen that in a while,” Axford said. “To go against one of the best closers in the game and scratch out a run, that’s great for us.”
LeMahieu also had a two-run single off Marquis, who gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
The Reds’ losing streak is their longest since they dropped 11 straight in June 1998 under manager Jack McKeon.
“We’ve earned our nine-game losing streak, but we’re capable of playing better,” manager Bryan Price said. “It makes it hard to find enjoyment and peace when you know you’re capable of playing better.”
The riverboat smokestacks that celebrate home runs and strikeouts were back in action after one of them caught fire during the last homestand. They shot off fireworks after Todd Frazier’s two-run homer in the first inning off Eddie Butler, his 13th overall.
Price tried to get more out of his struggling offense by batting Marquis eighth and the slumping Hamilton ninth, the first time since 1933 that a Reds pitcher batted anywhere other than ninth.
Marlon Byrd doubled and scored on Hamilton’s single in the fourth, cutting the Rockies’ lead to 4-3. Byrd’s leadoff homer in the sixth tied it. Butler gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings.
Rockies right fielder Brandon Barnes landed in the stands while catching Brandon Phillips’ foul fly in the second inning. Arenado also ended up in the stands while catching Skip Schumaker’s foul ball off third base in the eighth inning, hitting his throat as he tumbled over the railing. He stayed in the game.
STATS & STREAKS
Charlie Blackmon stole a career-high three bases. The last Rockies player to steal three in a game was Carlos Gomez on May 30, 2013 at Houston. … LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Rockies: Gomez was supposed to be in right field but was scratched from the starting lineup because of a stomach illness.
Reds: C Devin Mesoraco went on the 15-day DL with a sore left hip. LHP Manny Parra was activated off the DL, recovered from a strained neck. RH Johnny Cueto was examined for a stiff right elbow.
Rockies: LH Jorge De La Rosa makes his seventh start since recovering from a strained groin. He’s 1-2 with a 6.51 ERA.
Reds: RH Michael Lorenzen makes his fourth start, after making his last two appearances in relief. Lorenzen is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA as a starter.
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