Reds 7, Rangers 6
Right-hander Johnny Cueto had trouble getting his back loose and struggled through four innings Thursday, but Scott Rolen hit a homer that rallied the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Cueto hasn't had any issues with his back this spring and didn't think the problem was serious. He gave up 10 hits and five runs in four innings, including a leadoff homer by Julio Borbon. Cueto also hit two batters and walked another. He struck out six, including the last two batters he faced.
``When I threw in the bullpen, my back was a little tight,'' Cueto said.
Given his problems warming up, the Reds took him out after four innings, which matched his longest start of the spring.
``One of those things,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ``He was getting the ball up more than he usually does and his velocity was down a little bit.''
Rolen hit a two-run homer off closer Frank Francisco, who started the game and gave up four hits in his one inning. Francisco hadn't given up a run in four previous innings this spring.
``I didn't think he'd go all spring without giving up runs against good hitters,'' manager Ron Washington said. ``He got his inning in. He felt good. That's what's important.''
Rolen has struggled this spring, bringing a .227 average into the game. He has looked better at the plate the last couple of games.
Reds minor leaguer Daniel Dorn singled home a run in the seventh and hit a two-out, solo homer in the ninth off left-hander Richard Bleier to win it.
The Rangers' most meaningful move of the day was acquiring first baseman Ryan Garko off waivers from Seattle. Texas was looking for a right-handed hitter off the bench.
Garko is a .279 career hitter with Cleveland (2005-09) and San Francisco (2009). He signed a one-year, $550,000 contract with the Mariners, but batted only .220 with a homer and four RBIs in 15 games this spring.
``My bench has gotten better,'' Washington said. ``He's the right-handed bat we were looking for. He can plays first and catch some for us.''
Garko was home in the Phoenix area when he got the call that he'd been claimed.
``I've very excited,'' he said. ``It's a ballpark I've always loved to play in. I think I can help out against left-handed pitchers.''
NOTES: Borbon has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games. ... C Jarrod Saltalamacchia pinch-hit and singled. He has been bothered by sore muscles in the back of his left shoulder, but caught an entire game on Wednesday. ... Garko hasn't caught a game since Triple-A. ``I've caught my whole life,'' he said. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto is 11 for 13 in his last five games.