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.
"I looked at it as a great opportunity to get out there and really just attack the zone and see if we could get a good tone set," Belisle said. "Really, really disappointing not to get a win out of that, as a team, because I was really proud of the bullpen."
Aroldis Chapman closed for his 26th save in 28 chances. Culberson drew a one-out walk, and pinch-hitter Mike McKenry sent a shot down the line that first baseman Brayan Pena snared as he toppled over. Pena then touched first base with his glove to double up Culberson.
Jay Bruce brought in a run with a groundout in the Reds' third, and Santiago added an RBI single in the fourth.
MULTIPLES OF 10
Corey Dickerson and Justin Morneau both extended their hitting streaks to 10 games. For Dickerson, it's a career-high hitting streak. Morneau's longest streak this year is 13 games.
15 AND COUNTING
Belisle was the 15th pitcher to start a game for the Rockies this season, the most in the majors. It also ties the franchise record set in the team's inaugural 1993 season.
Reds: INF Todd Frazier was out of the starting lineup with a balky back, which he hurt the night after hitting a ball off the end of his bat. "Pain shot up the right side of my back," Frazier said. He said he thinks it is a muscle strain in his lower back. He is day to day.
Rockies: Weiss said it "sounds like things went well" with SS Troy Tulowitzki's hip surgery on Friday in Vail, Colorado. OF Carlos Gonzalez will have surgery on his left knee on Monday. Both are out for the season.
Reds: RHP Dylan Axelrod is expected to be brought up from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday to fill in for the injured Homer Bailey, who is headed to the DL with a strained right elbow. It will be Axelrod's first major league start since last September.
Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles (6-1, 3.70) will make his third start since returning from the DL. He missed two months with a broken left hand.