CINCINNATI -- A tightly pitched game between the Rockies and Reds was determined by two ongoing trends. Cincinnati's bullpen can't escape its rut and Trevor Story's power can't be contained for long. It was Story's eighth-inning home run that gave Colorado a boost toward a 5-1 victory on Monday -- its fifth win over the last six games.
Reds reliever Ross Ohlendorf, who was coming off a loss at St. Louis on Sunday when he allowed an eighth-inning run that also snapped a tie game, was cruising with five in a row retired and three strikeouts after taking over in the seventh inning. There were two outs on two K's in the eighth when Story ripped a first-pitch fastball to center field for a no-doubt homer, his eighth of the young season. He set a Major League record for fewest games (13) with eight career home runs.
"We've been using the bullpen a lot. We needed somebody to pick up multiple innings there," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Ohlendorf. "I wanted to get him back in the game after yesterday. He gave up a walk and a double, comes in and throws a beautiful first [part of the] inning, two outs. He just wasn't able to finish off the eighth. He's got the type of stuff that can help us."
"That was a beautiful piece of hitting -- to hit that ball where he did, to hit it out of the park, that's tough to do," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Story. "That's a perfect swing, pretty much."
Ohlendorf followed Story by allowing a single up the middle and a walk before he was replaced. Jumbo Diaz's first batter, Ben Paulsen, crushed his first homer of the season -- a three-run shot to center field on a 1-0 changeup that blew the game open. It was Diaz's third homer allowed in eight appearances.
"Everybody knows he throws hard, and today they were throwing hard and in -- and those are pitches I can hit, so I put a good swing on it," Paulsen said.
Rockies starter Jordan Lyles gave up one unearned run and four hits over seven innings while throwing 76 pitches to earn the victory. Lyles, who hadn't yet completed five innings entering, had one intentional walk and struck out four. The Reds, who have dropped six of their last seven games, have the second-highest bullpen ERA in the National League behind only Colorado.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED It had been soooo long: Remember when Story seemed to homer every day? Folks got spoiled before he went 27 at-bats without going deep. With the Reds playing and pitching him to pull all game, it was a matter of time before the ball ended up in the home-run wheelhouse of Story, who is not necessarily a pull hitter.
"The first time up I didn't notice it, until I hit it up the middle and [second baseman Brandon] Phillips caught it," Story said. "It kind of surprised me. But it didn't really change anything. I'm still trying to drive the ball. That's right where I want to be. Any time I hit a line drive to center field, I'm very happy with that."
Golden D: There's a reason Rockies left fielder Gerardo Parra and third baseman Nolan Arenado have five Rawlings Gold Glove Awards between them (three for Arenado), and the Reds' Jay Bruce found out in the fifth. Bruce thought he had a triple when his leadoff drive bounced off the left-center wall, but Parra took dead aim with his throw, and Arenado made a spinning back-tag. Reds manager Bryan Price challenged, but replay showed Bruce's leg was above the bag when Arenado's glove made contact.
"Hindsight is always 20-20, and I talked to some of the guys, and they said it was an OK play to run there. But I like to go by the book," Bruce said. "I can't make the first out at third base. I have to absolutely be safe, and I wasn't. No matter what happened, I was out. It had to be a perfect throw, had to be a perfect tag, and it was. It looks bad to get thrown out at third, making the first out down 1-0." More >
Not-so-golden E: The Reds made it a 1-1 game when the defense betrayed Colorado in the sixth. Following a Zack Cozart hit that scorched off Story's glove, Jordan Pacheco followed with a double to the left-field wall. Parra's cutoff throw was short and one-hopped to Story but got away, letting Cozart score. An error was charged to Parra on the play.
Straily's strikes: Moved from the bullpen into the rotation for his first start of 2016, Dan Straily gave the Reds five nice innings and allowed one run, two hits and two walks over five innings with four strikeouts for a no-decision. Hovering mostly in the 88-91 mph range and topping at 92 mph, Straily threw 52 of his 76 pitches for strikes and first-pitch strikes to 13 of his 18 batters. More >
"Those first two outings, I wish I could get those back, but obviously I can't. It's good to come out here, not get into the bullpen early -- that's what hurts the most." -- Lyles, on his first strong outing -- one that dropped the Rockies' starters' ERA over the last five games to 1.42
"I really felt like the last two days, my stuff is as good as it's been, and the results weren't. Sometimes that happens. I feel like if I keep pitching this way, there will be good results. It's frustrating I got the loss in both of the games, and I couldn't help the team out in such close games." -- Ohlendorf
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Story's 14 RBIs through his first 13 Major League games are by far a Rockies record. The previous mark is shared by catcher Tom Murphy in 2015, current Reds utility player Pacheco in 2011 and catcher Ben Petrick in 1999.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Lefty Jorge De La Rosa (1-1, 8.80 ERA), who shed some of his early struggles by striking out seven Giants in 6 2/3 innings while winning on Thursday at home, will start against the Reds at 5:10 p.m. MT on Tuesday. De La Rosa is 3-3 with a 7.42 ERA in 11 appearances against the Reds.
Reds: Following a rough week, Alfredo Simon will be looking for good results when he makes the start vs. the Rockies at 7:10 p.m. ET Tuesday. Last week, Simon had both the shortest start of his career -- two-thirds of an inning vs. the Cubs on Wednesday -- and a one-inning relief appearance at St. Louis on Friday. The combined totals were nine runs (eight earned) three walks, two strikeouts and two home runs allowed.