Arenado launches first HR; Reds rally to win in 9th

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nolan Arenado continued a torrid spring at the plate by hitting his first homer of the Cactus League season, but the Reds rallied for three runs in the ninth to beat the Rockies, 5-4, at Salt River Fields on Thursday.

Colorado's All-Star third baseman went 2-for-3 to raise his spring batting average to .500 and took Cincinnati starter Brandon Finnegan deep in the third inning.

"He's just really good," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Arenado. "He made another unbelievable play to start a double play. We see it pretty much on a daily basis."

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However, down one run in the ninth, Reds third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean hit a two-run single and first baseman Brandon Allen delivered an RBI double to put Cincinnati on top. The Rockies cut the deficit to one run on Rafael Ynoa's sacrifice fly in the bottom half, but that was all they would get.

Colorado took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Charlie Blackmon's RBI single before Arenado extended it to 2-0. That held up through the three-inning spring debut of Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa, who set down all nine batters he faced. De La Rosa struck out four.

The Reds got on the board in the fourth, when Eugenio Suarez singled off Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood, Brandon Phillips walked and Scott Schebler delivered an RBI single to make it 2-1. Competing for the starting spot in left field, Schebler went 2-for-3 and raised his spring average to .368.

Colorado answered with a run in the fifth on a DJ LeMahieu RBI single, and the Reds pulled to within 3-2 in the seventh on a Juan Duran sacrifice fly.

Finnegan's velocity was down, and he said he was going through the "dead arm" period that pitchers often deal with at this point in camp.

"Not too good today," Finnegan said of how he felt on the mound. "It was one of those days that I didn't have electric stuff. Nothing was coming out, but I battled through it and made some good pitches when I needed to. They got some cheap hits, but that's baseball. It's going to happen. At the end of the day, it wasn't my worst outing and it wasn't my best."

Reds Up Next: The Reds will have split-squad games on Friday. In the home game vs. the A's, shortstop Zack Cozart will start and make his long-awaited return from reconstructive right knee surgery in June. Rotation candidate Jon Moscot will be the starting pitcher vs. Oakland. In the road game vs. the Cubs, fellow rotation candidate Robert Stephenson will take the mound. Both games are scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET.

Rockies Up Next: Right-hander Chad Bettis, who is in the mix to get the ball for the Rockies on Opening Day after making a career-high 20 starts last year and going 8-6 with a 4.23 ERA, will make his Cactus League debut at home against the Indians at 1:10 p.m. MT. Bettis was held out until now to give younger pitchers innings and because he had built up some foundation over the winter. He'll be followed on the mound by righties Christian Bergman, Jason Motte, Miguel Castro and Scott Oberg.

Doug Miller is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.