3/21/2013 7:45 P.M. ET
Cueto struggles as Reds fall to A's in close contest
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The A's chased Reds ace Johnny Cueto during a five-run second inning and held on for a 10-9 win on Thursday afternoon.
Cueto lasted only 1 2/3 innings and allowed five runs and five hits -- all in the second -- with two walks and one strikeout. He threw 54 pitches.
"I feel good, but I'm sad because I didn't pitch the way I wanted," Cueto said via a translator.
Trouble started with one out in the second when Chris Young hit a one-out double and was followed by Derek Norris, who pushed a 1-0 pitch the opposite way for a two-run homer to right field -- his fourth home run of spring.
A two-out walk to Josh Donaldson hurt as Jemile Weeks hit a single which sent Donaldson to third. After a second walk to Eric Sogard, Jed Lowrie lined a single to center field, scoring Donaldson and Weeks. Josh Reddick added an RBI double to left-center field to finish Cueto's afternoon.
Cincinnati scored three runs in the bottom of the second against A's lefty Brett Anderson. With one out, Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer to right field on a 1-1 pitch. Derrick Robinson later hit an RBI double to right field with two outs to keep Cincinnati close.
Oakland scored twice in the third against Minor League righty Nick Christiani as Donaldson hit a two-run ground-rule double to right field. In the Reds' three-run fifth against Anderson, Robinson hit a solo homer to left-center field. There were two outs against Oakland reliever Mike Ekstrom when Chris Heisey and Zack Cozart each hit RBI singles.
Anderson was done after 4 2/3 innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Oakland closer Grant Balfour pitched a scoreless sixth in his Cactus League debut. He didn't surrender a hit or a walk and fanned one.
In the seventh, the Reds threatened as a one-run ground-rule double from Xavier Paul made the score 8-7. The A's scored two more in the next inning with a two-run double from Daric Barton, which held up.
The Reds made it 10-9 in the ninth on a solo home run from Denis Phipps off Travis Blackley.
Up next for Reds: When the Reds face the Dodgers Friday at 4:05 p.m. ET at Camelback Ranch, there might be some insight on the decision for the fifth spot of the rotation. Mike Leake is the scheduled starter and will be followed by Aroldis Chapman. Reds manager Dusty Baker did not say how many innings Chapman may throw. If he only gets one inning, than all signs point to him being the Reds closer in 2013.