CINCINNATI — Trevor May recovered nicely from the worst start of his career, giving a quality performance. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto was even better.
Cueto made his best start yet since returning from a sore elbow, allowing four hits in eight innings, and the Reds beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Wednesday to take their interleague series.
Joey Votto had a sacrifice fly off May (4-7), and the Reds scored an unearned run on catcher Chris Herrmann's throwing error. May gave up six hits and fanned six in 6 1-3 innings, rebounding from his worst day.
May had retired only one batter and had a throwing error while giving up six runs in a 10-4 loss to the Brewers on Friday. He escaped several threats on Wednesday by staying calm.
"That was the overlying theme for me today, just kept telling myself — and sometimes I'd say it out loud — you're one pitch away, one pitch away," May said. "I just tried to do that as well as I could."
Brandon Phillips led off the third with a double, advanced on May's wild pitch and scored on Votto's flyout.
May had walked only 15 batters all season, but walked Billy Hamilton and Phillips with one out in the fifth. Hamilton headed for third on a full-count pitch to Votto. It turned out to be ball four, but Herrmann threw to third base. His high throw went into left field, allowing Hamilton to score easily for a 2-0 lead.
"He's a playmaker, for sure," May said of Hamilton, who leads the majors with 40 steals. "He's definitely bouncing around out there and got the ability to take any bag."
Herrmann thought the full-count pitch to Votto was strike three, so he hurried a throw to third trying to get Hamilton.
"He thought he might get that call, so he comes up firing and the ball goes into left field," manager Paul Molitor said. "Chris had already committed to making the throw."
The game started 12 hours after the Twins' 8-5 win on Tuesday night following a long weather delay. Minnesota played several rested backups in the quick turnaround, with Torii Hunter among those out of the lineup. Cincinnati took two of three in the series.
Cueto (5-5) pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in six starts since he returned from an inflamed right elbow. He struck out eight, walked one and gave up an RBI groundout to Eddie Rosario.
Aroldis Chapman retired the side in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances.
The Reds are trying to go easy with Cueto, pushing him back a few days last week for extra rest. He's in the final year of his contract and is likely to be traded in July. Cueto got a standing ovation as he left the field after finishing the eighth.
Brian Dozer led off the sixth with a double — his AL-leading 44th extra-base hit — and came around on a pair of groundouts.
AGAINST THAT OTHER LEAGUE
The Twins are 8-10 in interleague play this season. The Reds are 5-9.
First baseman Kennys Vargas was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga after the game. He batted .169 on the road and hadn't played much lately. A corresponding move will be made on Thursday.
Twins: LF Shane Robinson was back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday's game with a stomach ailment. One of Cueto's pitches hit him above the left elbow in the fifth, and he came out of the game an inning later with the sore arm.
Reds: Phillips was back in the lineup, batting leadoff, after missing the past two games with sore hands. He went 1 for 3.
Twins: Kyle Gibson (5-6) opens a four-game series in Kansas City that will complete a 10-game trip. He's 4-2 with a 2.68 ERA in six starts against the Royals.
Reds: Following a day off, they complete a homestand against Milwaukee. Michael Lorenzen (3-2) starts the opener. The Reds have won 17 of their past 23 against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park.
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