CINCINNATI -- With one huge swing, the Reds' Joey Votto rendered all the grit the Rockies mustered Friday night into the "not enough" category.
Votto's ninth-inning leadoff homer off Rockies lefty reliever Boone Logan gave the Reds a 4-3 victory at Great American Ball Park in front of 27,187.
The loss left the Rockies (22-16) with their first consecutive losses since they fell April 13 at San Francisco and April 14 at San Diego. But Friday was far different from the club's 5-0 loss at Texas on Thursday.
It could be said that Rockies' six hits on Friday night were every bit as noteworthy as the high-scoring games they had put up much of the week. Five of the hits, including Troy Tulowitzki's 10th home run of the season, came in the eight innings Reds standout Johnny Cueto pitched. This season, Cueto has yet to allow more than five hits in a game.
The Rockies ensured Cueto would not get a victory after a well-executed top of the ninth inning left Reds closer Jonathan Broxton (1-0) charged with his first run and first blown save. Nolan Arenado even sacrificed his club-record hit streak, which ended at 28 games on an 0-for-3 night with a strikeout, to draw a one-out walk from Broxton. Arenado scored on Justin Morneau's double. Add to all that an outing in which starter Jhoulys Chacin shook off a little more of the rust that came with his being sidelined the first five weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, and it was a night to build upon.
But Votto wiped all that out abruptly by swatting a 3-0 fastball from Logan (1-1), who didn't have his best execution on a night when that was the way to win.
"I didn't really have a lot of giddy-up on my heater tonight," Logan said. "I felt really good, but it doesn't really matter if the results aren't there."
The Rockies fell short, dropping to 9-11 on the road. But for a team trying to escape a history of poor play on the road and uncompetitive outings against the game's top pitchers -- Cueto entered leading the Majors in ERA and opponent's batting average -- it was a progressive step.
"We knew it was going to be tough to score against him [Cueto]," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We knew we had to battle every at-bat and try to make him earn every out he got. Guys did a great job fighting all the way through."
Cueto was sharp the first time through the order, with Chacin's unlikely double in the third the only hit. But Tulowitzki led off the fourth by taking a first-pitch fastball over the wall in center to cut the deficit to 2-1. DJ LeMahieu singled to start the fifth, moved a base on Chacin's grounder and scored on Charlie Blackmon's single through the middle to tie the game.
"We gave Cueto some good at-bats and kept it a close game," Tulowitzki said. "He made some pitches; sometimes we got him. So it was a good battle."
Cueto said via translator Tomas Vera: "They have a really good team. You see they all have a high batting average. I have to do my job, and I have to do what I'm doing. I don't want to change anything. I just want to do what I do."
Chacin, who gave up four runs on eight hits in a loss to the Mets on Sunday in his debut, yielded Skip Schumaker's first-inning leadoff single. Schumaker scored on Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly. Todd Frazier opened the second with his sixth homer of the season -- a rocket to center field that was estimated at 485 feet, the sixth-longest drive in Great American history.
But Chacin stayed out of trouble the rest of the way, finishing with a line of four hits and two runs while throwing 88 pitches in six innings. He was removed with two out in the top of the seventh for pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson, who struck out against Cueto.
"I'm feeling better and better, and hopefully next time I'll feel better," Chacin said. "We battle. The few times we had a runner on base, we battled and got a couple of runs. But Cueto is a tough guy."
Pinch-hitter Billy Hamilton doubled off Logan to open the bottom of the eighth and scored two batters later on Brayan Pena's sacrifice fly. Arenado, however, drew the walk in what Weiss called a "winning at-bat" against Broxton. Broxton thought he had strike three earlier in the count, but first-base umpire Brian O'Nora ruled that Arenado checked his swing. Morneau's double tied it.
Then Votto left the Rockies counting their forward steps, but not a win.