GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Johnny Cueto became the first Cincinnati pitcher to finish five innings this spring, limiting the Texas Rangers to five hits and one run in the Reds' 2-1 victory Friday night.
Cueto also had five strikeouts, twice fanning Prince Fielder, in a bid to start on opening day.
"Cueto looked great. His velocity was up, not that it's paramount but it seemed like he did," Reds' manager Bryan Price said. "He had a real good cut fastball, sinker and four-seamer, that's three different pitches off the same pitch. ... You add a cutter to that and that's how Greg Maddux made a beautiful living."
Manny Parra earned the save, striking out two in a hitless ninth.
Chris Nelson singled in Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco in the second against Tanner Scheppers.
Michael Choice doubled off Cueto in the second and singled home the only run off Cueto in the fourth.
"Cueto just got a slider up to Choice that he hit for the single that scored their run," Price said.
Billy Hamilton threw Elvis Andrus out at third earlier in the inning to help protect the lead.
Hamilton is taking over the center field and leadoff spot that Shin-Soo Choo held last season. Hamilton reached base twice and stole his seventh base of the spring in as many tries. Hamilton set a professional record with 155 stolen bases in the minor leagues in 2012.
Choo, who signed with Texas as a free agent, was 0 for 4 against his former teammates as the designated hitter.
Rangers: Scheppers started for the Rangers. Scheppers, who worked out of the Texas bullpen last season is in a competition with Robbie Ross, Joe Saunders, Tommy Hanson, Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis for two open spots in the starting rotation.
Scheppers pitched three innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. He struck out five.
Two of the three hits came in the second inning, when Cincinnati scored the two runs.
"I made a mistake to (Zack) Cozart and he took advantage," Scheppers said. "I had to bear down after that."
The transition from bullpen to starter has its challenges.
"As a reliever, I could come in and just use my power stuff," Scheppers said. "As a starter, I have to pace myself. I have to pitch instead of throw."
Scheppers and Ross went head-to-head in the competition for a starter's job and Texas manager Ron Washington had a good look.
"Tanner worked around some issues early and made pitches when he had to," Washington said. "
Reds: Cueto was scheduled to pitch five innings. The Reds still have not named the opening day starter, but Cueto, who is coming off an injury-riddled season, is considered the favorite.
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