DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado and a patchwork Colorado Rockies pitching staff weren't enough against the winningest pitcher in the major leagues.
Arenado hit a solo home run in the second inning and nearly had another in the eighth, but that was nearly all the offense the Rockies could muster against Cincinnati right-hander Johnny Cueto.
Cueto pitched eight stellar innings to become baseball's first 15-game winner, and Kris Negron had a career-high four hits, including a tiebreaking single in the ninth, as the Reds beat Colorado 3-2 on Friday night.
Cueto (15-6) allowed two runs and six hits to help the Reds snap a three-game skid. He is 7-0 since a loss at San Diego on July 2.
"His cutter is just filthy," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Arenado hit one of Cueto's cutters into the left-field seats to give Colorado a 1-0 lead, but Cueto was stingy after that hit. He breezed into the sixth inning before working his way out of a jam after giving up a tying RBI double to Corey Dickerson.
With one out and the bases loaded, he struck out Charlie Culberson with a 95 mph fastball and then fanned DJ LeMahieu with the same pitch.
Arenado nearly got him again with a drive to the wall in the eighth and the game still tied. He had a good-natured exchange with Cueto as he trotted back to the dugout.
"He was saying, 'You just missed that,'" Arenado said. "I was like, 'Man, I thought I almost had you.'"
Negron lined a two-out single up the middle off Adam Ottavino (0-4) to bring in Ramon Santiago with the go-ahead run.
The late run spoiled an otherwise solid outing by the Colorado bullpen.
The Rockies turned reliever Matt Belisle into an emergency starter when Franklin Morales was a late scratch after his wife went into labor. Belisle and five relievers kept the game close until the ninth.
Belisle allowed one run and tossed a season-high 49 pitches in three innings. It was his first start since May 25, 2008, when he was with the Reds.
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