Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Cueto fired eight healthy and effective innings in leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the rubber game of a three-game interleague series.
Making his second start since being skipped a turn in the rotation due to elbow stiffness, Cueto (5-5) held the Twins to a run on four hits while racking up eight strikeouts and walking just one.
"He had all of his stuff," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Cueto. "He's a pretty special talent. I think we're seeing one of the real special pitchers of this time, because he does a lot of things that nobody else does in the game."
Brandon Phillips also made an impact in his return to the Reds' lineup, recording a double and a run scored after sitting out the first two games of the set with soreness in both his thumbs.
Trevor May (4-7) pitched well for Minnesota in a losing cause, permitting two runs -- one earned -- and fanning six over 6 1/3 innings.
The Twins mustered just two hits -- consecutive singles by Trevor Plouffe and Kennys Vargas in the second -- off Cueto through the first five innings of play, and trailed 1-0 after Cincinnati converted Phillips' leadoff double in the bottom of the third into a run.
A wild pitch from May moved Phillips to third with none out before Joey Votto lifted a fly ball to left that brought him in with the game's initial run.
May kept it a 1-0 game until issuing back-to-back walks to Billy Hamilton and Phillips with one out in the fifth. Votto then worked a free pass as well, and Twins catcher Chris Hermann air-mailed an unnecessary throw to third on ball four to enable Hamilton to trot home for the second Reds run.
"Any close pitch like that, in my mind, I'm going to try to throw the guy out even if it's called a ball," Herrmann said of the play. "I have to make a better throw than that. I take total blame for making a throw like that. I'm not known for that, so I'm pretty down on myself about it."
Minnesota finally got to Cueto in the sixth, as Brian Dozier stroked a leadoff double and crossed the plate on consecutive groundouts by Eduardo Nunez and Eddie Rosario.
The Twins put the potential tying run in scoring position in the seventh, but Cueto struck out Eduardo Escobar to end the threat and surrendered just a Nunez single in the eighth.
Aroldis Chapman then came on for the ninth and retired the side in order to notch his 16th save.
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier had a nine-game hitting streak halted after going 0-for-4 ... Cincinnati won for just the 11th time in 34 games against AL teams dating back to the start of the 2014 season ... May is now 2-4 with a 5.45 ERA in seven road starts this season and is 0-3 in four interleague assignments ... The teams combined to go 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, with the Twins ending 0-for-6.