Reds 4, Diamondbacks 0

Johnny Cueto felt the blister and the heat. Neither one was all

that much of a problem.

Cueto showed no significant issues from his finger blister

during six innings Tuesday night, and Ryan Ludwick hit a three-run

homer that sent the Cincinnati Reds to their first victory without

Joey Votto, 4-0 over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Votto had surgery earlier in the day to repair torn cartilage in

his left knee, sidelining the former National League MVP for up to

a month.

”It was a struggle, a battle,” manager Dusty Baker said.

”We’re going to have quite a few battle-type games without Joey on

the offense.”

Cueto (11-5) threw 105 pitches, an indication that a blister he

developed on his right index finger last week wasn’t bothering him

too much. He gave up four hits and walked four.

”It was better,” Cueto said, with an athletic trainer serving

as translator. ”I felt it a little bit, though.”

Aroldis Chapman came on with two aboard and two outs in the

ninth and fanned Aaron Hill on four fastballs – the last one 101

mph – for his 14th save in 18 chances. Chapman has gotten 21 of his

last 25 outs off strikeouts.

Arizona’s Trevor Bauer (1-2), the first of the 2011 amateur

draft picks to reach the majors, had the roughest time in his four

starts so far. The 21-year-old pitcher lasted only three innings,

gave up four runs, walked five, threw two wild pitches and had an

errant pickoff throw.

”It’s pretty obvious – I couldn’t throw a strike when I wanted

to,” Bauer said. ”You put five guys on base and you’re going to

get beat.”

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson revamped his lineup for the

series opener, looking to get his hitters out of a collective

slump. It worked – 13 hits in a 5-3 win over the Reds on Monday

night.

He kept the same top five hitters in the batting order, but got

different results with Cueto on the mound.

Cueto had his start pushed back two days after he developed a

blister while throwing in the bullpen. The Reds were concerned that

he might not get very deep into the game and called up Todd Redmond

to have another pitcher available in the bullpen, just in case.

Cueto wore long sleeves on a humid, 96-degree evening and was

crisp at the outset. His control faded in the middle innings, but

was still good enough to get him out of bases-loaded, two-out

threats in both the fifth and sixth innings.

”It was hot today, but I didn’t feel it too much,” Cueto said.

”My legs were feeling strong. I’ve been running a lot.”

Baker attributed his control problems in part to the long layoff

between starts because of the blister.

”And the finger bothered him some,” Baker said. ”It didn’t

open up to bleed, but the skin came off of it a little bit. He got

out of trouble, and that’s the mark of a good pitcher. He can dial

it up when he wants to and needs to, and he did.”

The Reds scored an unearned run in the first inning with Bauer’s

help. Drew Stubbs walked, Zack Cozart reached on shortstop Stephen

Drew’s error, and the runners pulled off a double steal. Stubbs

scored when Bauer threw a wild pitch that bounced in front of the

plate – one of several that didn’t make it nearly far enough.

The bad moments were just beginning for the rookie.

He walked two more in the third and threw wildly on a pickoff

throw. He knocked Ludwick on his back with an up-and-in first

pitch.

”I almost did a reverse Chapman,” Ludwick said, referring to

the closer’s two forward somersaults after a save earlier this

season.

Ludwick hit the next pitch into the upper deck in left field for

a 4-0 lead, extending Great American Ball Park’s streak to 70

straight games with a homer.

It’s the longest such streak since Coors Field had 80

consecutive games with a homer from 2002-03.

NOTES: OF Jason Kubel was out of the lineup for the fourth

straight game because of a sore hamstring. Gibson said he could

return on Wednesday. … Reds SS Zack Cozart snapped an 0-for-16

skid. … Slumping RF Jay Bruce got a day of rest. … RHP Mat

Latos will try to extend his streak of 15 starts without a loss on

Wednesday. Latos hasn’t lost a game since April 18. … RHP Mike

Leake pinch hit for Cueto in the sixth and struck out.

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay