CLEVELAND — Johnny Cueto threw his fourth complete game of the season and the Cincinnati Reds, aided by a bizarre play in which a Cleveland runner was fooled by a second ball on the field, defeated the Indians 9-2 on Tuesday night.
The Indians, trying to mount a comeback in the seventh, had a rally squelched after an errant warmup pitch from Cincinnati’s bullpen came on the field.
Yan Gomes’ double cut the lead to 6-2 and moved David Murphy to third as a ball thrown by reliever Jumbo Diaz rolled behind second base. Murphy mistakenly thought that ball was live and edged off third. He was tagged out after the ball that was in play was thrown to Santiago.
Indians manager Terry Francona spoke briefly with the umpires, but the call stood.
The unusual play, along with Cueto’s strong performance and a rare big offensive day by the Reds, helped Cincinnati break a 10-game losing streak at Progressive Field.
Cueto (13-6), who hasn’t lost since July 2, allowed two runs in winning his fifth straight decision.
Ramon Santiago hit a three-run homer in the second off Josh Tomlin (5-8) to break a 1-all tie for his first home run since Aug. 16 last season while playing for Detroit.
Cincinnati, which has been playing without All-Stars Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, is 6-12 since the break, as it struggles to stay in the NL playoff chase.
Michael Brantley had an RBI single for the Indians, whose four-game winning streak ended.
Cincinnati scored in the first on a dropped relay throw by third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.
Jay Bruce had three hits and two RBIs and Negron added a two-run double in the ninth.
Reds: Votto (strained left knee) who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 8, is rehabilitating in Cincinnati. Manager Bryan Price says Votto is still experiencing soreness in the knee and there’s no timetable for his return.
Indians: Designated hitter Nick Swisher (strained right wrist) is expected to be available Wednesday after missing two games. Center fielder Michael Bourn (strained left hamstring) began a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron on Tuesday and could rejoin the Indians next week. He’s hasn’t played since July 5.
Reds: Right-hander Mat Latos (3-3) starts today as the series shifts to Cincinnati. He’ll be making his 10th start after opening the season on the DL. Latos owns a 3.11 career ERA at Great American Ball Park, which is the lowest by any pitcher with at least 15 starts there.
Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar (4-4) looks for his fourth straight win Wednesday since returning from the minors. He has a 2.00 ERA while striking out 17 over 18 innings in his last three starts. Salazar has yet to face Cincinnati in his career.